Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is renown for it’s flawless use of dialect, and every writer must read it to understand why dialect is a bad idea for anyone but the most skilled. And even then it’s dicey, unless you’re Hurston herself.
More than that,though, it’s glimpse into a specific moment in time, into lives greatly unlike ours, into people who, at one time, were not considered worthy of protagonist status. It’s books like these that let us into the living rooms we’d never have seen, that really help us to understand our common humanity.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Amazon for $1.99. One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.