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Virago Modern Classic Book Club: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Categories: Virago Modern Classic Book Club

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Virago Modern Classics Book Club,

September 2018

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

 


This September we are reading Zora Neale Hurston’s classic: Their Eyes Were Watching God,  perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

 

'One of the greatest writers of our time' Toni Morrison

 

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her . . .

When sixteen-year-old Janie 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 she finally meets the man of her dreams – who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds.

With haunting sympathy and piercing immediacy, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford’s evolving selfhood. Light-skinned, long-haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being a man’s mule or adornment. Though Jaine’s story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn’t have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, instead Janie proclaims that she has done “two things everbody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

 

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We love to hear from you. Let us know your favourite quotes, characters and any questions you might have about Their Eyes Were Watching God, using #VMCBookClub on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Plus, click here to discover what we’ve read so far this year.

Maya Angelou on Zora Neale Hurston

 

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