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Dust Tracks on a Road

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  5,230 ratings  ·  277 reviews
"Told in gutsy language...her story is an encouraging and enjoyable one for any member of the human race." — N.Y. Review of Books.

First published in 1942 at the height of her popularity, Dust Tracks on a Road is Zora Neale Hurston's candid, funny, bold and poignant autobiography, an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to
Paperback, 324 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1942)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,230 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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"There is something wonderful to behold just ahead. Let's go see what it is." - Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road

I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book as I’ve read about the tragedies Zora Neale Hurston experienced in her life. This, however, turned out to be one of the most marvelous autobiographies I have ever read and more inspirational than discouraging.

I loved reading about Hurston’s childhood; she was such a precocious and inquisitive child who could easily have been s
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cheryl by: Rowena
Oh the magic and mystery that was Zora Neale Hurston. An indescribable childhood, deplorable kindred, a love life that was itself a puzzle. (In fact she does admit that her true love story with her second husband was somehow interwoven into her novel: "I tried to embalm all the tenderness of my passion for him in Their Eyes Were Watching God).

The first sentence of this memoir is a lyrical ambush:

Like the dead-seeming, cold rocks, I have memories within that came out of the material that went t
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Through reading this book one discovers much about Zora Neale Hurston's life and personality. She was a short story writer, novelist (author of Their Eyes Were Watching God), anthropologist and folklorist. She lived from 1891 to 1960.This book was published in 1942, 18 years before her death. A chronology listing the important events of her entire life is found at the book's end. She died in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1973 author Alice Walker saw that a gravestone was instal ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Dust Tracks On a Road, Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography, was published in 1942. This verbose but colorful book reads like a collection of short stories. Hurston often poses questions that she proceeds to answer but not without excluding the reader from her thought process. Sometimes by the end of the chapter the questions are still unanswered. But for Hurston it seems just thinking through it was enough. And so goes her autobiography.

Hurston always had a fanciful way about herself. We find out
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, autobiography, women
Excellent writing over all, published in 1942 at the height of Zora Neale Hurston’s popularity. The author lived another 18 years, died, was buried in an unmarked grave and remained largely ignored until novelist, Alice Walker, looked into her and her work with a view to having Hurston recognized by new generations.

The title probably refers to Hurston’s tumbleweed existence from her youth onward. Her mother died when she was 14. Her father’s unfortunate remarriage alienated not only his childre
Jerrika Rhone
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zora just gave me life #yesssssssssssssssssss

65% Done: Writing on paper, that Booker T Washington was trash makes Zora the dopest of the dope. Fight me.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Zora Neale Hurston approaches this moving memoir like a master storyteller, with wonderfully lyrical prose that reminded me a lot of her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Loved it.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read somewhere a quote from Alice Walker that Zora Neale Hurston has a tendency to be exasperating. I think applied to Dust Tracks on a Road that may be putting the matter lightly.

Allegedly, the book is a memoir. Hurston is coy about this at its start; she says that after the success of her previous books her publisher asked her -- nearly had to force her -- to put onto paper the narrative of her own life. I would say what we ended up with is rather more the narrative of the life Hurston would
I cannot praise this book enough. It's been years since I read anything written by Zora Neale Hurston, and I find myself once again amazed by the hugeness of her life. What lyricism and spunk! She was a vital woman and writer who truly lived in her time.

Like many others, I liked her accounts of her childhood and teen years the best. I am aware of why this book had stirred up so much controversy even among her most loyal readers, but I hope I am a little more understanding than her critics. Life
(I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)

I recently re-read Their Eyes Were Watching God and didn't love it as much as most other readers. I read this soon thereafter, and I have to say I found it to be a much more interesting read. I understand that it was not received well critically; even her number-one-fan, Alice Walker, apparently didn't care much
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
2.5 stars

I feel like Zora was a brilliant, indomitable woman who would have scared me out of my skin if I knew her. I love Henry Louis Gates Jnr's afterword to the edition I read, which discusses the search for a voice in Hurston's work and contemporary black women writers related search for literary ancestors, of whom Zora may be claimed as one...

I like her style when it remains concrete; when she strays into abstractions, I start getting bored. I was bewildered by the complex mixture of attitu
This autobiography is a collection of memories and short stories. Zora Neal Hurston uses her life as a backdrop to let a loose plot unfold. Her talent as a storyteller shines through and is the star of the book. She paints vivid pictures, and the pace is just right. Hurston tells us what she wants us to hear and leaves out quite a bit, but I didn’t really want more. She told me the one thing I wanted to know which was what was going on in her mind when she wrote Her Eyes Were Watching God. In my ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is there to say that hasn't already been said? She was a visionary. She is still relevant. Her work is still changing lives.
"Light came to me when I realized that I did not have to consider any racial group as a whole. God made them duck by duck and that was the only way I could see them. I learned that skins were no measure of what was inside people. So none of the Race cliché meant anything anymore. I began to laugh at both white and black who claimed special blessings on the basis of race. Therefore I saw no curse in being black, nor no extra flavor by being white."

To me, this quote pretty much summarizes Zora's p
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid memoir about a fascinating life and an under-appreciated writer.
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is very much situated in Hurston’s internal life which is vivid and magical. It is definitely a writer’s story. We get a distinct picture of the genesis of Hurston as a writer from a young child playing mostly by herself and inventing stories to an introverted youth who spent as much time as possible with her face in a book to an anthropologist who traveled to the American South and to the West Indies collecting the stories of others. Hurston is first and foremost a story teller but one drive ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a serious girl crush on Zora Neale Hurston! Her personality was a thing of beauty. I think I smiled 90% of the time while reading this book!! I wish I could have met her, gone to a book signing or something, but she left me with some hope at the end of this book.

“Maybe all of us who do not have the good fortune to meet, or meet again, in this world, will meet at a barbecue.”
Jeni Pearson
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was beyond my expectations. The visualization of the characters influences, were exceptional! Overall, I loved how she found herself...LOVING ME!!
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This was overall, an enjoyable autobiography (despite the occasional pedantic sounding essays). However, it certainly did not seem to tell the whole story in that Hurston sought to distance herself from members of her own race who were not as educated. Also, I was expecting to hear about the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s; but there was very little of that, and the focus was more on her work and study than her personal life.

At some point I would be interested in reading one of her novels becau
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
Will add more quotes when I reread. For now, here are quotes from Written By Herself.

I think this book is the best of all Hurston's works that I've read, and shows her strengths as a writer and storyteller.

p. 36
"In the classroom I got along splendidly. The only difficulty was that I was rated as sassy. I just had to talk back at established authority and that established authority hated backtalk worse than barbed-wire pie. My immediate teachers were enthusiastic about me. It was the guardians of
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobio-bio
Reading her autobiography made me wish I could have been friends with [Zora Neale Hurston]. She knows how to tell a story, her sense of humor is wicked, and she seems absolutely fearless. Her story begins with the town where she was born, and progresses, mostly chronologically, until about chapter 16. From chapter 16 on, the autobiography reads like a series of essays on her life, the times, things she has observed. Her story is fascinating, and well worth the read. I am going to include a bunch ...more
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Zora fans, women, memoir fans
Four years after writing Janie Mae’s journey in Their Eyes, Zora Neale Hurston was persuaded by her editor, J. B. Lippincott, to write her autobiography. The result was Dust Tracks on A Road, the partly fictionalized tale of a persona named Zora and her geographical, spiritual, and intellectual journey from Eatonville to New York and beyond. Their Eyes and Dust Tracks contain pronounced similarities in themes and in plot, and a comparison illuminates Hurston’s use of the journey motif. A restles ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a slow read for me; I wasn't all that interested in her childhood years and kept putting the book down, but I got more interested once she entered adulthood and got the ball rolling (being on a plane with little other options helped, too).

The only other book I've read of hers is Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I didn't like it all that much (a little too much romance for me), but once I got into this book, I really liked it. She writes very thoughtfully, and she's also very funny.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Full of voice, but lacking in momentum.
Иван Величков
До сега бях чел само двете книги с антропология на Зора Нийл Хърстън и определено бях изненадан от високото качество на прозата в тази автобиография. Сякаш е писана от двама автори, единият разглежда безпристрастно живота като низ от събития, другият се движи на ръба на поетичното. Определено ще прегледам и четиритеи романа.
Извън стила на писане, който е очарователен, много от догатките ми за тази силна личност се потвърдиха. Зора е изпреварила времето си с половин век, а вижданията и за света в
Entertaining autobiography of an American roots writer.
Review of the Audible Audio edition (2016) narrated by Bahni Turpin (was the Audible Daily Deal on February 19, 2019).

This was an entertaining overview of American roots writer Zora Neale Hurston's (1891-1960) life and career as written from her own point of view in 1942. It doesn't provide a complete biographical arc. Although the audiobook shares a cover image with 2010's Perennial Modern Classics Deluxe edition (see that print edition at
Theo Pauline Nestor
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read Dust Tracks on a Road as I was curious how much of the love story between the narrator and Tea Cake in Their Eyes Were Watching God might've been drawn from Hurston's own life. I also wanted to read this book before just-released Barracoon to learn about Hurston's training as an anthropologist. Dust Tracks was an engrossing read and gave me the insights into Hurston's life I was hoping to find. Up next: Barracoon.
Eb Daniels
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An impassioned and moving autobiography, Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road, a work influenced as much by artistic self-conception as factual events, perfectly encapsulates the boundless spirit, determined tenacity, and creative genius of one of the greatest American writers of all time.

Never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story, Hurston's autobiography consists of her conceptions and imaginations of her life as much as of things that actually happened. The reader is thus
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This is less a memoir and more a stream-of-consciousness essay sort of thing. I know nothing about Hurston, having previously only read Their Eyes Were Watching God and seen a TV play of sorts "loosely based on" her work. The novel I read came under the category (for me) of "excellent and that's why I don't like it"--well written but not a pleasant read. Therefore I was curious to learn more about her, and I did, in a way.

The foreword and afterword, written by two different people, were curious
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, lyrical autobiography of one of my favorite authors, Zora Neale Hurston. Her way with words--"I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots" (227), for example, shows her unparalleled ability to convey emotion without soliciting sympathy. Her achievements, which many are unaware of, are many, and she was an amazing anthropologist as well as novelist; one can easily see her training in both in everything she writes. Her chapter "My People! My People!" is an observant tr ...more
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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
“I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” 133 likes
“I made up my mind to keep my feelings to myself since they did not seem to matter to anyone else but me.” 131 likes
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