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Novels and Stories

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  470 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
When she died in poverty and obscurity in 1960, all of Zora Neale Hurston's books were out of print. Today her groundbreaking works, suffused with the culture and traditions of African-Americans and the poetry of black speech, have won her recognition as one of the most significant African-American writers.

This volume, with its companion, Zora Neale Hurston: Folklore, Mem
Hardcover, 1054 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Library of America
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The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonKindred by Octavia E. ButlerBeloved by Toni MorrisonRoots by Alex Haley
Best Black Historical Fiction
56th out of 214 books — 189 voters
Collected Works by Flannery O'ConnorFour Novels of the 1960s by Philip K. DickTales by H.P. LovecraftCollected Stories by Raymond CarverPoetry and Prose by Walt Whitman
Library of America
39th out of 170 books — 23 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 19, 2013 Holyn rated it it was amazing
Hurston is a master of short fiction. Never before have I enjoyed short fiction as I did when reading the selections in this compilation. I wanted each story to continue and wondered about the characters once they were gone.
Her novels are fascinating and give life to characters in a way that I have rarely experienced. I am glad I decided to come back and give her writing another try.
May 17, 2007 Kristopher rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone; required
I couldn't recommend Zora Neale Hurston enough. When she does fall short of her immense ability, she still offers much more than the usual writer. I would suggest finding her memoirs and folklore collection, too, as it will provide greater insight into her entire work. Start with Their Eyes Were Watching God and read several of her tightly written stories. Savor the dialogue and play, enjoy the setting of rural Florida. Move on to her lesser works with an eye for her development as an artist and ...more
Colleen Mertens
Apr 06, 2016 Colleen Mertens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all four of Hurston's novels. I originally read "Their Eyes Were Watching God" in college and loved it. I wanted to reread it now many years later. I still love this book. I thought the characters were realistic and that I knew people like them. The descriptions of the towns and lifestyles of the time make the story come to life. After rereading that, I read "Jonah's Gourd Vine" which loosely tells the story of Hurston's parents. It was one of my favorites. After that came "Moses, Man of ...more
Lorena Santos Lozano
Mar 30, 2008 Lorena Santos Lozano rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reads
Although, this is not the actual copy that I read, Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my favorite books. I first read it in an American Literature course. There are some gorgeous scenes that Hurston lays out in the book-- Janie beneath the pear tree for instance. Someone once said that this was her favorite love story of all time. But I question that this book is a real love story between two people. Perhaps Janie's found independence, self-respect, self-realization......?
Oct 14, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Older People.
When this book starts, Moses hasn't been born yet. His mother is in labor and his family is praying that it is a girl. Around that time period, the Pharoah is killing all the boy babies because he doesn't want any of them to take his throne. When Moses is finally born, the family is planning to hide out somewhere because they don't want to lose Moses. Instead, they put him in a basket and float him down the Nile. They count on his sister, Miriam, to watch the basket float to the designated spot ...more
Alaya Martin
Feb 22, 2016 Alaya Martin rated it it was amazing
I had to read "Their Eyes Were Watching God" for class back in high school. I really liked the book and was intrigued by Zora Neale Hurston. As a followup, I bought this book about a year later and read it from cover to cover. All I can say is that I fell in love with Zora Neale Hurston as a writer!
Feb 24, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read Jonah's Gourd Vine and now the book is overdue... but I'll be back. Full of interesting historical context and language, and ideas. Here's the bible story it's named after, if you don't know it:
Aug 24, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at the library to read the stories and I'm glad I did. I love her voice. I love that she gives an insight to a time and a people that, at time, I look at with shame. But her stories (and novels) make it clear that I should be celebrating this part of my country's history.
May 13, 2008 Lore89 added it
A controversial novel by the time it was Published, as they talk about the variety of relationships and problems that a black girl named Janie, after the experience of 3 marriages, starting from her 16 years because of her grandmother’s obsession.

The book started in Eatonville, which was the first black community in USA.
Janie thought she was white, because she lived with more girls and they were white skin.
She kissed a bad guy and that’s when her grandmother decided to give her a better life,
Aisha Sapp
Aug 22, 2016 Aisha Sapp rated it it was amazing
Great book! Her most wonder stories in one amazing book! Love her story telling. She was so raw and way before her time.
Mar 15, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I didn't read this whole selection; I read Jonah's Gourd Vine, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and some of the short stories. I found Jonah's Gourd Vine to be average; I didn't have any feelings for it. I felt the same for some of the stories. However, Their Eyes Were Watching God and some of the short stories were amazing. I love Hurston's style although it takes some getting used to. The story plots were amazing, though.
Oct 26, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it
I read Jonah's Gourd Vine from this collection of several books and short stories. It was Hurston's first novel and based on her father. It was a great read. Loved her sense of place, characters and phrases and bits of folk lore. It is heavy with dialect but I didn't have much of a problem. There were some words, phrases I didn't understand. There's a glossary in the back that explains most.
Apr 03, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Really great literary fiction. One of the best books I have ever read. Zora Neale Hurston got a lot of flack from the black male Harlem renaissance clique about this one because of its depiction of men. It is a feminist work that speaks of the strength of women and their ability to determine their own lives no matter what adversity is thrown their way. Excellent.
Mar 08, 2008 Angel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I read this in graduate school for a class in African American literature. It was not one of my favorites. That I gave it two stars just means it was something I barely liked. To be honest, her folklore work is more interesting to read. The novel is considered a classic, so if you want to say you have read some classic works, this is one of them.
Apr 06, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of Zora Hurston's writings. I still really like Their Eyes Were Watching God but also was very impressed with Seraph on the Suwanee. She was an excellent writer and I'm glad to have found a publication that contains more than the well-known Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Jaha knight
Dec 28, 2007 Jaha knight rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to see the culmination of great words put to paragraphs and then turned into pages that comprise a book of inspiration. I learned a lot from the stories in this book. I have to say Jonah's Gourd Vine is the best book I've read by Zora Neale Hurston.
Amy Wharton
Feb 09, 2012 Amy Wharton rated it it was amazing
It's been a few years since I've read this, but I did enjoy it. She wrote with great feeling and warmth, though I can't remember details now. I do recommend reading this--especially in response to some current southern fiction written from the white southern perspective.
AudioFile Earphones Award, Exceptional Audio Performance by Renee Joshua-Porter. Includes six short stories: "Drenched in Light," "The Conscience of the Court," "Muttsy," "The Gilded Six-Bits," John Redding Goes to Sea," and "Sweat."
Mar 20, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it
Hurston's books are so enriching. I learned a lot about African American culture and folklore. I think they helped me to broaden my perspective.
D. Elaine Fields
Jan 28, 2013 D. Elaine Fields rated it it was amazing
Fall in love with one of the best ever. Read over time or all at once - for lessons in word-smithing and turn of phrase, turn to Zora Neale Hurston
Oct 14, 2010 Anita added it
Sep 14, 2008 Warner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: black-folk
Classic short stories set in the 20's and 30's
Sep 09, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
Recommended to Scott by: Dr. Gloria Cronin
Zora Neale Hurston makes me happy. That's it.
Lisa Halperin
My memory is that I loved this book.
Kareema Perkins
Oct 19, 2012 Kareema Perkins rated it it was amazing
I heart this woman!!!!
Mr. Paul
Sep 05, 2008 Mr. Paul rated it really liked it
she is perfect.
Mar 18, 2010 Shawna8696 rated it really liked it
Great collection!
Apr 14, 2008 Flynn rated it it was amazing
So "There Eyes were Watching God" was one I had never read, although I always had a sneaking suspicion that I should, and I really was rewarded with this one. The language totally blew my mind and was one of those books which I felt was really expressing truth, which is a rare find.
Joyce marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
Dronile marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2016
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Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist and author. In 1925, shortly before entering Barnard College, Hurston became one of the leaders of the literary renaissance happening in Harlem, producing the short-lived literary magazine Fire!! along with Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman. This literary movement became the center of the Harlem Renaissance.

Hurston applied her Barnard ethnographic tr
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