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Their Eyes Were Watching God Audiobook

Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: I loved this book when I read it, but it wasn't until I listened to Ruby Dee's performance that I realized how much I had missed. Hurston's book is filled with rural Florida dialect and vernacular that is hard to appreciate on the printed page, but becomes poetry in this glorious recording. Dee paints each character vividly with her rich and velvety voice. —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

Their Eyes Were Watching God, an American classic, is the luminous and haunting novel about Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for close to 70 years.

This poetic, graceful love story, rooted in Black folk traditions and steeped in mythic realism, celebrates boldly and brilliantly African-American culture and heritage. And in a powerful, mesmerizing narrative, it pays quiet tribute to a Black woman who, though constricted by the times, still demanded to be heard.

Originally published in 1937 and long out of print, the book was reissued in 1975 and nearly three decades later Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered a seminal novel in American fiction.

©1937 Zora Neale Hurston, Renewed 1965 John C. Hurston and Joel Hurston; (P)1997, 2000, 2004 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"For readers who know Hurston's work, this program will be a joy; for those who are lucky and wise enough to discover her here, it will be an exceptional experience." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (2480 )
5 star
 (1576)
4 star
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3 star
 (206)
2 star
 (49)
1 star
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Overall
4.5 (1882 )
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2 star
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Story
4.7 (1885 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Morris Villa Park, CA, USA 04-04-08
    Morris Villa Park, CA, USA 04-04-08 Member Since 2016

    Actually, I'm Morris's wife, Dawn, an avid reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved It!"

    I have been meanng to read this book for some time, having seen it on so many "recommended" lists. I am a writing teacher and am especially sensitive to the use of language. I was immediately captivated by Hurston's exquisite descriptions and observations about human nature and race relations. I've since bought the book so I can underline the passages I especially love.
    I've listened to many audio books but have never heard a better reader than Ruby Dee. What a wonder she is, making this book come alive with her many varied and realistic voices.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SweetAsFire 12-23-15
    SweetAsFire 12-23-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unpopular Opinion To Follow"
    What made the experience of listening to Their Eyes Were Watching God the most enjoyable?

    The writing was good and kept me listening even while I hated to listen to Ruby Dee.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I didn't have one in particular...Janie would be too obvious, I think.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ruby Dee’s performances?

    NO! She made every character sound angry, old, and drunk. It was hard to listen to because she was the narrator.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Perhaps, if that was possible.


    Any additional comments?

    If it wouldn't have been a such a waste of money, I would have stopped listening because of the narrator. I cannot say that enough. I thought I was just being harsh but I let my husband and kids listen and they all agreed that, though I am sure she was a lovely woman and talented actress, she was not a good narrator.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharell 06-09-13
    Sharell 06-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    130
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    "love the story would have liked a younger voice"

    I had a hard time reading the printed text because I generally have a hard time reading anything written in dialect. I am even annoyed when I get misspelled text messages from relatives written in dialect because I have to reconstruct what they are supposed to say. After reading the text, I thought an audiobook version would be lovely but I have to disagree with most reviewers. This is a beautiful love story and although the main character is older in the novel she strikes me as in her 40s during the telling of the story. Hearing Ruby Dee's narration is sort of like having your grandmother tell you about her love story. Although she did a great job, it took me out of the story a bit and I would have enjoyed a younger voice.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Schwarzkopf 05-09-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    140
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    "Outstanding"

    Narrator Ruby Dee made this book come to life in a variety of voices, emotions, and moods. This book is poetry with a complex main character. It's a definite "must read" for book clubs.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Long 03-18-08
    Amanda Long 03-18-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    115
    3
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    "Amazing!"

    Although I had read the book in print, the narration of this audiobook moved me to tears multiple times. I was stunned at how much of the story and emotion I had missed in the print book. Ruby Dee did a phenominal job as the narrator. I can't imagine this book read by anyone else.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-12
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2008

    Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2394
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    537
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    "Ruby Dee's narration is truly memorable!"

    I was a little worried when I first started listening that I would not like the book or the narration. I was so wrong as I soon learned. This is an amazing story with an even more incredible narration by Ruby Dee. It was a very enjoyable and memorable listen and I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 02-26-10
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 02-26-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    146
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    344
    62
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    5
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    Overall
    "A Book Before it's Time"

    I think listening to this book really added to the atmosphere of the writing. The reader was SOOO good! I think it would be harder to understand if I had just tried to read it myself. It is written in black southern dialect. -- I can't believe this book was written in 1934. It was definitely way before it's time. I liked the characters and I liked the message of being who you want to be, not just what everyone else wants you to be. --There were funny parts, sad parts, and somewhat intense parts. This book is definitely a five star read!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    201
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    "Buy it now."

    This book is fantastic. The narrator is one of the best I have ever heard. I didn't want it to end.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 08-25-13
    Carol 08-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "A book about Nothing!"

    I do not write many reviews but bought this book after every reviewer had given it 5 stars, and I felt i had to give a different opinion. I was not able to get through the book as it just seemed to go on forever about nothing. Janie did not seem to have many problems in life and in fact had it pretty easy. The reading was wonderfully done but I found the negro accent extremely irritating. I know it is set in a different era, but our ears aren't used to hearing that sort of speech any more.
    One of the most overrated books I have ever listened to!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelby Moreno Valley, CA, USA 12-07-08
    Shelby Moreno Valley, CA, USA 12-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    11
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    "Don't miss this one!"

    If you fail to give this one a try you are only cheating yourself out a wonderful experience! A beautifully written story that is fabulously narrated! Definitely will be on my list of "all time favorites".

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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