Their Eyes Were Watching God, Paperback Book

Their Eyes Were Watching God Paperback

Part of the Virago Modern Classics series

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres.

Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century.

It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive.

There is no novel I love more' Zadie Smith


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Review by

A moving story about an African-American woman's life and loves.Janie has three marriages , the first two loveless ,the third with a younger man full of love and respect but ending tragically when she has to kill him when he is driven mad with rabies.Difficult to read in parts as written extensively in dialect which I always find a challenge.Nearly made me cry at the end.Excellent book.

Review by

First sentenceShips at a distance have every man’s wish on board.Final sentencesHere was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish net. Pulled it from around from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.These sentences reflect the beauty and lyricism of the narrative of this novel. This story takes the reader on a journey away from the idealized and stereotyped afro American women. Somehow, and in spite of the afro – American dialect in which much of the book is written the way in which our central character Janie grows, develops and reflects upon life as a whole person, as a women has much that spoke to me regardless of skin colour and roots. Speaking personally some of the dialect was at times tough going. Such was the power of the writing, the life of Janie, that the challenge was no longer so! In essence we follow Janie as she journeys from a sixteen year old to a mature woman. Her awakening is likened to her experience of her watching singing bees on a pear tree.‘Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with her life but it seemed to elude her. Where were the singing bees for her?’A thought provoking story – worthy of four stars. Do be sure to read an edition that contains an introduction by Holly Eley and the afterword by Sherley Anne Williams.

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