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Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance

by Hurston, Zora Neale,

Format: Print Book 2020
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Summary

From "one of the greatest writers of our time" (Toni Morrison)--the author of Barracoon and Their Eyes Were Watching God--a collection of remarkable stories, including eight "lost" Harlem Renaissance tales now available to a wide audience for the first time.

New York Times' Books to Watch for

Buzzfeed's Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Newsweek's Most Anticipated Books

Forbes.com's Most Anticipated Books of 2020

E!'s Top 2020 Books to Read

Glamour's Best Books

In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston--the sole black student at the college--was living in New York, "desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world." During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston's "lost" Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston's world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer's voice and her contributions to America's literary traditions.

Contents
John Redding goes to sea
The conversion of Sam
A bit of our Harlem
Drenched in light
Spunk
Magnolia flower
Black death
The bone of contention
Muttsy
Sweat
Under the bridge
'Possum or pig?
The Eatonville anthology
Book of Harlem
The book of Harlem
The back room
Monkey junk
The country in the woman
The gilded six-bits
She rock
The fire and the cloud.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Best known for Their Eyes Were Watching God and her exuberant appreciation of African American culture in the rural south, Hurston also penned keen observations about Harlemites, many of them transplanted southerners. In another reclaimed volume, following Barracoon (2018), 21 of Hurston's short stories are gathered together for the first time, including nine recovered works, most focused on life in Harlem during its renaissance period, beginning in 1921 when Hurston struggled to launch herself as a writer. Presented in the order in which Hurston wrote them, the stories trace her literary development and the adjustments she shared with others of the Great Migration. The collection includes tales of a young man who longs to live life beyond his small Florida town, a faithful wife tempted by her husband's admiration for a gold-leafed city slicker, and a man who rejects the notion of marrying a biscuit cooker in favor of the prospect of Shebas of high voltage. Throughout, Hurston draws insightful and humorous contrasts between southern and northern cultures, small-town and big-city life, and the ties and disconnects between country and urban folk. With biting wit, Hurston gets to the heart of the human condition, including racism, sexism, and classism, through the circuitous path of her characters, that is, the straight lick with a crooked stick.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Kicked off with a foreword by Tayari Jones, Hurston's rediscovered stories will electrify book media and draw in readers.--Vanessa Bush Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This arresting collection from Hurston (Barracoon) includes eight previously unpublished works, mostly set in or featuring characters from her hometown of Eatonville, Fla. Many of the stories draw on folklore and mythology to dramatize conflicts around gender, class, and migration. In "John Redding Goes to Sea," a young boy named John dreams of leaving his small Florida town and continues to dream of leaving after he's grown up. Delayed at first by his mother, who neither understands nor approves of her son's wanderlust, and then his wife, John finally gets an opportunity, undaunted by a portentous, impending storm. In "Magnolia Flower," a young couple's stealing of time together away from the woman's overbearing, abusive father is framed as a bedtime story shared by an anthropomorphic river to a splashing brook after it disrupts the river's slumber ("‚ÄČ'Oh, well,' the river muttered, 'I am wide awake now, and I suppose brooks must be humored'"). Hurston ingeniously uses the cadence of her characters' speech to denote regionalism and class--there's a marked difference between how her Eatonville characters speak and how her Harlem characters speak. Arranged chronologically, the collection offers an illuminating and delightful study of a canonical writer finding her rhythm. (Jan.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects African Americans -- Fiction.
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction.
Short stories.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher New York, NY :2020
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Short stories.
Contributors West, Margaret Genevieve, editor.
Language English
Description xliii, 252 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 245-250).
ISBN 9780062915795
0062915797
Other Classic View