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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked…
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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem… (edition 2020)

by Zora Neale Hurston (Author)

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234692,130 (3.84)6
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.… (more)
Member:guelphblackheritage
Title:Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance
Authors:Zora Neale Hurston (Author)
Info:Amistad (2020), 304 pages
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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston

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https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3741085.html

Collection of the short stories written by Hurston in the 1920s and 1930s, all about the contemporary experience of black Americans, mostly set either in Harlem or in Eatonville, Florida, her home town. Several of these stories were unpublished in her lifetime, perhaps intentionally so; they are good honest reportage of her people's life, some better than others. There's a lot of marital infidelity, a lot of smart children; they all worked well enough for me apart from the biblical pastiches which are anyway mercifully short. Published only last year. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 27, 2021 |
Zora Neale Hurston was one of the pioneering authors during the Harlem Renaissance and is most well-known for the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. This work is a compilation of short stories published during her life. Many of these short stories are previously unavailable to a wider audience. Together, they open a tall and wide window to African American life in Eatonville, Florida, Hurston’s hometown, and Harlem, New York, in the early twentieth century.

Hurston beautifully depicts a dialect of African American speech in Eatonville, consistent with most of her other works. Although this speech can be a difficult barrier at first, reading it gets better with practice. In the twenty-first century that I write, such indigenous dialects are falling by the wayside due to the pervasive influence of television. The capture of these patterns in written language is simply ingenious. They add another layer to her writing – and to the reader’s imagination.

The stories are humorous and intriguing in how the depict the culture in which Hurston was raised. They are also intriguing from the sociological perspective. They portray marriages and family life in a respectful yet insightful style. Hurston never demeans nor mocks but often touches upon difficult subjects like sexuality and domestic violence. In this work, there is not one character that I remember being white; instead, she focuses upon black culture among blacks. No doubt that her skill stems in no small part from her advanced education in anthropology.

Her writing style in this volume falls into three categories: First, traditional Eatonville stories with their unique dialect; second, the Harlem stories without a recast dialect and with themes of trying to reestablish lives after the Great Migration; third and finally, stories with a dialect similar to the King James Version of the Bible that harken contemporary stories back to the Christian narrative. Each story is filled with human dignity, humor, and an ain’t-that-so-true approach to life.

Fellow author Alice Walker famously rediscovered Hurston’s gravesite over a decade after a death in anonymity. Hurston’s stories have grown in influence since. It is now almost fifty years since that rediscovery. This work provides a small but unique contribution to Hurston’s now-famous literature. Fans of African American culture and literature will enjoy this collection that vividly relates her seminal style. Thanks to West and Amistad publishing house for the research to provide us with these short stories! ( )
  scottjpearson | Jan 16, 2021 |
Zora Neale Hurston is a brilliant writer, and these stories showcase a broad range of skill. She satirizes, writes folklore, and uses black vernacular English in lyrical and original ways. If you like folk stories, sly humor, or Harlem Renaissance writing, this collection is a must-read. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
I'm not, generally, a fan of short stories, so this rating is unusually high for me. I didn't like all of the stories equally. The writing, though. . . . ( )
  joyblue | Sep 24, 2020 |
Hitting a Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick: Stories From The Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, author, Aunjanue Ellis, narrator
Hurston is one of the most prominent African-American authors who wrote during the period of time from 1917-1937, the time of the Harlem Renaissance. These authors wrote books focused on social issues, like assimilation, faith, racism, black pride, and the atmosphere in the home between husbands and wives, parents and siblings, lovers and friends, in short, they wrote about all aspects of black life.
In this book, featuring several newly discovered short stories by Hurston, love and loss, relationships, drug addiction, racism, infidelity, physical and sexual abuse, injustice and a lack of women’s rights are featured. Some stories featured, education issues, religious issues, spiritual, superstitious or magical themes. They featured jealousy and greed, as well as kindness and joy. While some of the characters were loving, loyal, gentle, moral, well educated, grateful for their achievements, and grounded in their faith, others were hateful. They were liars, boasters, connivers, violent and even possibly downright evil. The stories, therefore, represented a microcosm of the world, during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, even though the particular focus is absolutely on the struggles of the black community. The evils presented existed in all communities, across color lines and religions, at that time, and perhaps, still today. The strong in society, who are sometimes evil, prey upon those who are weaker.
The stories do capture the times and the people very authentically, using the dialect they would use to communicate with each other. Some of the language may be offensive to the reader, since today, it is really frowned upon to use many of the terms in the book. There were times that I even thought I glimpsed what might be a bit of anti-Semitism or hostility toward the Jews, in some of the stories, because of references to the Sadducces and the Pharisees, both major historic influences in Jewish history, which sometimes seemed to be double entendres.
I love the author’s writing style. Listening to the audio, which was excellently performed, creating characters that were real and unique, I felt like I was viewing each story on a stage, but it was really the theater of my mind. Some of the stories were strange, some I didn’t quite understand, but each was so uniquely creative that I could not stop listening, completing it in one day. There was humor and there was tension, and I never lost interest.
On the negative side, the Editor’s Note, Foreward and Introduction were distracting and probably took up too much of the book, although learning about her background was inspiring and informative. The title essentially means, accomplishing something surprisingly, in a way that was thought to be unsuccessful, and perhaps that is the message. Although the Black community is still struggling to gain equality, they have struggled throughout their history in America to gain full recognition and respect often gained or thwarted, by unexpected means. Certainly, Hurston, did not get the recognition she deserved during her own lifetime. ( )
1 vote thewanderingjew | Apr 25, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zora Neale Hurstonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jones, TayariForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
West, GenevieveIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellis, AunjanueNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.

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Contains:
  • 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
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