Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

Adult Classic Fiction

Sometimes, rarely, you read a book and you know the author isn't skilled or masterful but gifted. Gifted in a way a virtuoso is, gifted in a way that can't be taught or bought, but only received through some divine blessing.  Such is Hurston and this book.  I have never read Hurston before and am so delighted to have discovered her.  What an absolute literary treasure.  It is a pity there are so few of her works.  I'll have to space them out so I don't exhaust them too soon. 

Janie marries first to escape from home to man picked out for her by her grandmother.  He was so much older and she found she had traded one kind of servitude for another.  It must be better to marry for love, she resolves.  Longing for that, Janie walks away from her marriage into the arms of a man who makes her a great many promises which he keeps.  She is a fine lady with nice things, held up on a  pedestal.  But still, Janie longs for love.  Finally, she takes for a lover a man twenty years younger who makes her wildly happy, wildy angry, and wildy sad.  Which of these choices is right?  Which is love?

Hurston is a true master of human emotions and can express in a few words oceans of what is unsaid and still understood by the human heart.  This is a book on women's right--and the unfairness of being a female in her time period.  I love that Hurston stays true to her voice, to the story, even though Janie's action are so difficult, so controversial, and yet, ultimately, so true.

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