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Their Eyes Were Watching God Audiobook

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Why we think it’s a great listen: Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel begs to be read aloud, and Ruby Dee answers the challenge with utter perfection, capturing the wide range of characters and their diverse accents with grace and power. Their Eyes Were Watching God 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.
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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 (1448 )
5 star
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4.4 (935 )
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4.6 (939 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amanda Roanoke, TX, USA 03-18-08
    Amanda Roanoke, TX, USA 03-18-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Carol 08-25-13
    Carol 08-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Schwarzkopf 05-09-11 Member Since 2015
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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.

    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
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    "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
  •  
    Jennifer Kempner, TX, United States 02-21-10
    Jennifer Kempner, TX, United States 02-21-10 Member Since 2008
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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
  •  
    Shelby Moreno Valley, CA, USA 12-07-08
    Shelby Moreno Valley, CA, USA 12-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    W Perry Hall 02-07-16 Member Since 2015

    “No persons are more frequently wrong than those who will not admit they are wrong.” Rochefoucauld

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Absolute Classic"

    This novel should be more highly revered as an American classic than it now is (check its classification here). Italo Calvino defined a "classic" as "a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, then, is an absolute classic.

    Zora Neale Hurston's decision to achieve verisimilitude by using the lively vernacular of African-Americans in the early 1900s American South transformed this book from a great novel to the lofty status, attributed to very few in the Western Canon, of "transcendent."

    Her piercing and prismatic prose entrances the reader like Etta James singing the blues to the rhythm and flow of Janie Crawford's journey from a young teen given by her grandmother as wife to an old man (after being caught kissing a boy) to her 17-year-old self being swept away by a fast-talking and dapper traveling salesman who turned out to be an abusive, chauvinistic husband, and then to a mid-to-late 30s widow finding love, passion and zeal for life in a man named "Teacake," more than a decade her junior.

    Ms. Hurston then brews up and heaves upon the reader a hellish hurricane crossing south-central Florida and breeching the banks of Lake Okeechobee. The passage from which the book's name was derived is both profound and symbolic:

    “It is so easy to be hopeful in the daytime when you can see the things you wish on. But it was night, it stayed night. Night was striding across nothingness with the whole round world in his hands . . . They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against cruel walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.”


    Another reason for the transcendence of THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is its place as pioneering in speaking out for, and celebrating the voice of, African-American women, especially those in the South. She masterfully conveyed her message that these women were oppressed not only by whites but also by others (especially men and, maybe more significantly, by other women) in their own segregated communities, and that these women should not be defined by these oppressive labels. Perhaps most telling of all is the mainstream's rejection of the novel (after its publication in 1937) because it did not play its part in "racial uplift."

    And so it is that Zora Neale Hurston's novel, even today, hasn't "finished saying what it has to say."

    Ruby Dee's bluesy narration is flawless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebekah Kliewer 04-29-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautiful!"

    This is a must read/listen! Couldn't put it down! As a side note this review app sucks won't let me submit it without meeting the word count.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 04-15-15
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    "Just loved it"

    I really enjoyed Ms.Ruby Dee narration she made it in grossing. The characters came alive right there for me to see.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharell 06-09-13
    Sharell 06-09-13
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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