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Dust Tracks on a Road

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  6,396 ratings  ·  428 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
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Paperback, 324 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Amistad (first published 1942)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Rowena
"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
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Cheryl
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
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Alice Lippart
Really interesting and I love the way this is written!
Chrissie
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
Raul Bimenyimana
“I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.”

This audiobook performed by Bahni Turpin was great. Zora is a fantastic storyteller, the kind that grips your attention from the first word to the last and it was a wonderful to be immersed in her words as Turpin narrated of her life, from her beginnings as a precocious child in Eatonville, Florida to her work towards funding her way to s
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Shannon
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
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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.
booklady
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography, 2018, 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
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Dusty
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
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Jaylia3
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.
Lulu
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.”
Britt
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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. ...more
Zanna
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
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Nichole
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
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Chris Chapman
I am fascinated by Hurston's extraordinary up-and-down life - towards the end of it she worked as a maid, while still publishing stories and newspaper articles. The woman was simply a force of nature - to illustrate this, Their Eyes Were Watching God, a work of great beauty, was written in seven weeks in Haiti, while she was doing anthropological field work there. Unfortunately this memoir was a little underwhelming. What a hodge-podge! Some of it does class as autobiography, in that she tells t ...more
El
(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
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Linda
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
Nancy Oakes
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5

for now (since I've got a stack of books to post about):

Let's just say I enjoyed this book (and the author) so much that I just bought two more of her novels, Jonah's Gourd Vine and Moses, Man of the Mountain, a biography (which I got today -- Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston), and preordered Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by this author, which comes out in January.

I love her writing style, but as I said, more later. I ca
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Morgan
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"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
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Morgan
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
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!!
Mark
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid memoir about a fascinating life and an under-appreciated writer.
Thomas
This is an interesting, beautifully written, somewhat meandering autobiography.

If you’re looking for the story of the author’s life, you’ll only find a bit of it, not just because she wrote it long before she died but because she doesn’t really give us a very coherent account of the events of her life. We get lots of information about her childhood, early days and the somewhat violent and bloody-minded society she grew up in but we don’t get much information about her literary career. She menti
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Elizabeth A.G.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not your usual autobiography, but what do you expect from this unusual woman? Her curiosity and indomitable spirit, even as a child, served her well in spite of the ups and downs of her life. The folksy style of writing and the stories she inserts into the telling of her own story are funny and fanciful and reflect the imagination that is inherent in story-telling. The reader has to question what is real or exaggerated. After the death of her mother and remarriage of her father, Zora's incompati ...more
Marti
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
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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
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Jennifer
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
Erin
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
Shauna
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.
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Craig
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Full of voice, but lacking in momentum.
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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
...more

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