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Their Eyes Were Watching God | [Zora Neale Hurston]

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

4.3 (1017 )
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4.6 (558 )
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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
  •  
    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 7 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
  •  
    Maggie 12-11-12
    Maggie 12-11-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Wow - a must read"

    This book is read by Ruby Dee... and it truly doesn't get any finer... she breathes so much life into every word.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patty Great falls, VA, United States 10-08-12
    Patty Great falls, VA, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A great read!"
    What made the experience of listening to Their Eyes Were Watching God the most enjoyable?

    The narrators voice and cadence was captivating. She draws the reader into the world of the "old south".


    What did you like best about this story?

    I felt, along with the characters, the influence of the culture on the main character. Her struggle to do the right thing for her grandmother vs keeping her individuality and meeting her oen needs for love and respect are palpable.


    Have you listened to any of Ruby Dee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but she is right on par withToni Morrison's reading of her book "Beloved". I will look for her performances in my future search to find a good audio book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra LI New York 09-20-12
    Sandra LI New York 09-20-12 Member Since 2013

    Bookworm

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    "At Long Last, Love"

    I can't remember a time that I've ever enjoyed a story, more. Ruby Dee is a classic. No one could have narrated Ms Hurston's novel, better. I downloaded this book for the IPOD in my kitchen and also in my automobile. (I just couldn't stop enjoying it.) Definitely, what is known as a page turner. Years ago, I read this book when I was still in school. But, I don't believe that I appreciated the beauty of it until now. Every line, poetic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz Madera, CA United States 08-21-12
    Liz Madera, CA United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    "What a lovely experience"

    Some books I listen to I find that I wish I had read them instead, this was definitely not one of them. Ruby Dee is marvelous.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace ISLESBORO, ME, United States 05-12-12
    Candace ISLESBORO, ME, United States 05-12-12 Member Since 2011

    I live on an island off the coast of Maine. Since I installed a "doggie door" I am now retired from "Letting The Dogs In and Out"!

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    "Ruby Dee could read the phone book ..."
    If you could sum up Their Eyes Were Watching God in three words, what would they be?

    Ruby Dee could read the phone book and make it come to life!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Janie, the main character. Ruby Dee gives her life and makes you feel Janie's joy and sob for her sorrows.


    Have you listened to any of Ruby Dee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Excellent as usual...when Ruby Dee narrates she makes the story come alive.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt joy, panic and sorrow.


    Any additional comments?

    it was a good story with a great narration. I am recommending it to my family and friends. I could have listened to another 10 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-20-11
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2011
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    "There's a reason this is a classic"

    This is a beautiful story of the transformative power of love, including self love. It is also very deeply a story about racism and sexism (both external and internalized)... the damage done and the ways people find to rise above or carry on anyway. The prose is stirring, the story and characters compelling, and the whole thing is elegantly read by Ms. Ruby Dee. I haven't looked at the print on the page, but the characters use a lot of dialect, and I was grateful to have an experienced voice bringing these to life. There are a lot of characters and it takes formidable acting talent to keep them distinct (and she does).
    This is one of those books I always thought I should have read... and when I saw it on audiobook, I was grateful to have this alternate medium. I'm so glad I took the time to ear-read this. It deepened my understanding of some very important issues, of people, and of a particular American context.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JM Camas, WA, United States 06-14-11
    JM Camas, WA, United States 06-14-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent writing and narration"

    This is one of those Oprah books. You feel sad as you hear it (not only affected by the skilled narrator, but also the content), even in the good parts. I didn't like feeling like that so did not finish listening to the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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