October Books 5) Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

I found this a fascinating novel. The protagonist, Janie, is a black woman growing up in rural Florida some time around the late nineteenth / early twentieth century; Hurston tells us the story of her childhood, her three marriages, natural disaster, and trial for murder. A lot of the book – the first chapter, which frames the rest of the story which is told as flashback, and Janie’s second marriage – is set in Eatonville, the first of the historic black towns which I wasn’t really aware of until I read Beverly Jenkins. Hurston was also an anthropologist and has a convincing ear for dialect. (She also integrates it far better into her narrative than, say, Stephen Crane.) Strongly recommended.

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