Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oh my gosh. This book was amazing. I came at it with some trepidation, expecting one of those heavy-handed anti-man, anti-white books that liberal professors like to assign to promote white guilt. Don’t get me wrong, this is very much about one woman’s search for meaning, and there are racial elements in the theme, but maybe not what you’ll expect going in.
Hurston’s writing is just incredible. Her use of metaphor and figurative language flows with all the beauty of the best poetry. She uses simple words, but she arranges them in a way that is breathtaking. I honestly can’t recall a novel that used language in such an amazing way.
The beautiful figurative language is contrasted — and often portrayed through the use of — very accurate dialectical writing. It takes a little to get use to this, but if you can get the voice right in your head the prose will sing with authenticity.
I mostly listened to this as an audiobook read by Ruby Dee, who does a fantastic job expressing the dialect and the tone. The book captured me so completely, though, that I bought a hardcover copy so I could keep at it when I couldn’t listen to the audio.
I cannot recommend this one enough. It’s definitely going into my AP Literature curriculum this year.
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