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Their Eyes Were Watching God [Paperback]

Zora Neale Hurston
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

4 Feb 1986

When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...

'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' Zadie Smith


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Their Eyes Were Watching God + Invisible Man (Penguin Modern Classics) + Native Son (Vintage Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (4 Feb 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860685241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860685241
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' --Zadie Smith

Book Description

* Zora Neale Hurston's masterpiece is perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT CLASSIC, 29 Mar 2005
By Heather Negahdar VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
"Where's dat blue satin dress she left here in? Where all dat money her husband took and died and left here? What dat ole forty year ole `oman doing wid her hair swingin' down her back lak some young gal?"
I know nothing of Zora Neale Hurston except that she wrote a great classic in Their Eyes Were Watching God sometime in the nineteen thirties.
The books makes its focal point around Janie Crawford, the envy of all other black sisters because of her light skin and her below the waist long hair. A strong and independent Afro-American woman, Janie knows what she wants out of life and leaves her town of Eatonville searching for it; finding herself at the altar on three occasions.
Forced more or less into the first marriage with Logan which did not last longer than a snowball in hell, Janie does her best to be a good wife, but at this stage she is still young and does not understand what is required of her in this unity which is on the verge of breaking down. As this happens, she quickly hooks up with the sweet talking Joe Starks, a man whom she looks up to and who will become the mayor of the small county where they live. Life with Joe Starks is different to the marriage with Logan as all the folks look up to Starks who is responsible, thoroughly arrogant, stubborn and forces his opinions and standards on Janie, like it or not.
But a reprieve comes in Janie Crawford's life after the death of the Mayor, which finds her grown into maturity and with a better comprehension of the world around her, and a better understanding of her desires and how she may acquire this love which has eluded her all these years. From her past experiences Janie reaches out for marriage the third time over with a man twelve years her junior, and this is when she will taste love at its sweetest for the first time, and be acquainted with pain, racial prejudice and great loss. For lovers of classical books, this book comes highly recommended!!!
SUGAR-CANE 28/03/05
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like this book better every time I read it. 30 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I teach "Their Eyes" to high school juniors and seniors every semester. Usually, we read it aloud in class to get the full effect of the dialect. What fun! They really get into the story. They argue about whether Janie was a spoiled brat (because she wouldn't help Logan) and wonder why she didn't get rabies from Tea Cake (because he bit her as he died). But mostly they just love the whole love story. On a recent essay, one student wrote, "Janie always kept her door wide open. What she didn't like in her life, she let blow right through. And what she liked, she kept." You gotta love that kind of response as a teacher. It's a wonderful, thought provoking book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My eyes have been opened. 15 May 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is one of the few that left me with a 'wow' feeling after I finished it. It is hard to describe just how amazing this book is, so I suggest that you read it to find out!

The racism is shocking at times, yet it invites us into the 'porch culture' that is so commonly associated with Black America. The protagonist is Jane, the product of rape by a white school teacher. Her mother runs away, leaving her in the care of her grandmother, who tries to shield her from the strong racism (Janie doesn't even realise she is black until she is 6!) and, wanting the best for her, arranges a marriage when Janie is just 16. Janie struggles but eventually takes her to a man worthy of her love. It is a beautiful tale, full of sadness, yet these downtrodden characters show admirable determination to survive and make the best of life. It is well worth reading, and easy to see how this book provided inspiration for authors such as Toni Morrison!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding story 22 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
Their Eyes Were Watching God was one of the best books that I've ever read. The book answered a lot of questions about life. We are faced with several conflicts in humanity with choices having to be made between Love, Good, Evil, Hope or reality, and Truth. It is a story about Janie, a young black woman, who tries to find herself through her grandmother's footsteps and eventually confronts herself to become the person she knows is of her own good. Taken along the memory lane in a small southern black town, "Their Eyes were Watching God" is a beautiful portrayal of the conflicts confronting Janie, not only about herself but also about how her society perceives her. Through an amazing creativity in characters, plot development, excellent narrative, lessons and dialogues and an easy ride through time, Zora successful made the reader to understand and appreciate black culture. This absolutely credible story is a highly recommended book to anyone with a taste for classic stories.Also recommended: USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS, THE GREAT GATSBY, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Book 22 Sep 2009
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Hurston tells the story of Janie, a poor black girl whose grandmother, born into slavery, bequeaths her granddaughter the indispensible freedom of marrying a free, moneyed black man before her death, determined that Janie won't suffer as she and her mother did.

Janie, not in the slightest bit grateful for this, suffers differently, wishing to marry for love and find the man who makes her feel free inside. The story chronicles her life through her various loves and is a fascinatingly rich story of a woman's fight to find a personal freedom and sense of self which no amount of money, laws or social standing can bring.

I had never read Hurston before but am a huge fan of Toni Morrison's writing and in reading Hurston it is easy to see the debt that Morrison owes her. Hurston has a fine ear for colloquialisms and the real life of black people in the nineteen thirties. She tells it as it is, and the book is all the richer, more powerful and moving for it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not as world-changing as some of the quotes suggest
As you'd expect, this is quite an old-fashioned novel, and is as slow and charming and comfortable as that would suggest. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TheBookshelf
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
More than just a book.This is a well book at a really good price. I am very happy with this purchase. Very happy !
Published 3 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read.
I would say that this was as well written and as important as To Kill A Mocking Bird. The whole story and the characters ring true. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JD
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep story
The book answered a lot of questions about life. We are faced with several conflicts in humanity with choices having to be made between Love, Good, Evil, Hope or reality, and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Philip
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
A spirited and moving account of a young woman refusing to fulfil her destiny, as chosen for her by society. Strong and memorable. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dinah
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survival
Strangely atmospheric. I didnt think I would like this, the patois takes a bit of getting used to, but the characters are very strong and eventually the whole just comes together. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Pippa M
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
What a truimph, a lovely book that breaks your heart and uplifts you in one, intriguing language, a joy. :)
Published 12 months ago by Marjorie
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I was pleased with all aspects of this purchase: the product arrived promptly and was in excellent condition and met my expectations.
Published 12 months ago by Ms. S. J. Rolph
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic
"Their Eyes Were Watching God" represents the life of Janie, a black women struggling to establish herself in her society - from the teenage girl whose life is defined for her to... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Andrew Fontenelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh So Real
It's hard to write a review about a book that nearly everyone says is great. It's certainly poetical with language that blossoms on many levels. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ken Brimhall
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