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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-12
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Bladenboro, NC, United States 05-29-12
    Sheila Bladenboro, NC, United States 05-29-12
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    "Loved it!"
    Where does Their Eyes Were Watching God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is by far, one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. The reader did a fabulous job of portraying the dialect and different voices within the story. I was spellbound throughout the book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E Hatoff California, USA 05-28-12
    David E Hatoff California, USA 05-28-12 Member Since 2013

    Hatiboy

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    "A Classic Novel, a Classic Performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God to be better than the print version?

    The dialect is hard to read but wonderful to hear in Ruby Dee's rendering.


    What other book might you compare Their Eyes Were Watching God to and why?

    HUCKLEBERRY FINN -- a classic journey of self discovery in a dangerous world, more so for a young person, especially a young black woman lacking family or money .


    What about Ruby Dee’s performance did you like?

    With men or women, young or old, she found something unique to convey.


    Who was the most memorable character of Their Eyes Were Watching God and why?

    the protagonist, a woman without means who prevailed in a frightening Jim Crow world by dint of intelligence and courage.


    Any additional comments?

    I was intrigued to learn about the founding of Eatonville, Florida where Hurston herself lived in one of the nation's only towns built and run by African Americans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Walden, NY, United States 05-02-12
    Lauren Walden, NY, United States 05-02-12

    Listen to books is a luxurious

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    "Great Listening"
    What made the experience of listening to Their Eyes Were Watching God the most enjoyable?

    This is a book that I found difficult to read. Listening to it was a joy. Ruby Dee does a wonderful job with this beloved novel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Veronica Daly City, CA, United States 03-04-12
    Veronica Daly City, CA, United States 03-04-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Award-Winning Performance"
    What did you love best about Their Eyes Were Watching God?

    The story is fascinating and seems to depict real people. Ruby Dee delivers a stunningly beautiful performance as ALL of them!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writer tenderly communicates some of the most shameful, noble and funny aspects of African-American culture.


    Which character – as performed by Ruby Dee – was your favorite?

    ALL of them! She was so many people, male and female, and she never apologized for being only the narrator. She dove in deep and came up with a master-piece, in my opinion. She communicated each character with such compassion and realism. The moment of dread when


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

    Yes, yes and yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you, Ruby! Your performance really brings this classic to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendell B. Daniel Vestal, NY USA 02-08-12
    Wendell B. Daniel Vestal, NY USA 02-08-12 Listener Since 2006
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    "Superb performance"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Ruby Dee is a skilled actor. She gave each character a distinctive voice and brought each one to life. Miss Dee's recording is not just a good reading: because she is so good the book became a drama fully realized on the stage in my mind. I gripped the arms of my chair during the hurricane and cried at the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 01-31-12
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 01-31-12 Member Since 2015

    Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.

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    "INCREDIBLE!!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Their Eyes Were Watching God the most enjoyable?

    The narration of the story was the fabulous. The story heartrendingly wonderful. I love the way Zora Neal Hurston can communicate emotion with her stories, the frustration, and feelings, and Ruby Dee was point on with her reading, she made the book come alive, I was in the kitchen, the courtroom, THE CHARACTER. It was fabulous, that doesn't happen as much with audio for me as it does with reading.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I think what I mentioned before, because I've tried so hard to describe emotional experiences, frustration, spiritual things, and I just get so frustrated myself - I just seem to be unable to find a way to spit anything out in a way that anyone else can comprehend. Those experiences were so well communicated in this book it was unbelievable.


    What does Ruby Dee bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Her expressiveness and versatility I think. She is so instinctively


    If you could take any character from Their Eyes Were Watching God out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    It would have to be Janie, she learns to find herself though pain and grow with it, but it seems like she could have side-stepped some, was it that much harder in 1937, or is the 2x4 way of growth inevitable for some of us, no matter what the decade?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    twyla 01-29-12
    twyla 01-29-12
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    "Entertaining, good book"

    It seemed to start slow but once it gripped me I was hooked until the end. I had to get used to the dialect though. But it is a good story of post and an interesting listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn 01-15-12
    Carolyn 01-15-12 Member Since 2013
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    "wonderful"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God to be better than the print version?

    one of the best read stories I've heard in a long time. An expertly written tale with details so rich you can feel them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neha 12-26-11
    neha 12-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    "One of the reasons I fell in love with books!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommended this book to many of my girlfriends. Janie's journey is one that every lady can learn from.


    What does Ruby Dee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ruby Dee gave me a completely different experience while reading one of my favorite books. I loved being read to and recognized how much I missed while reading the book myself.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I still got chills during all of my favorite scenes, especially towards the end of Janie's journey when she's come to so many realizations about love and life.


    Any additional comments?

    After listening to this audiobook I realized why this book stood out for me a decade ago in high school. Every feminine piece of me, still to this day, identifies with Janie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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