Zadie Smith writes about Zora Neale Hurston
Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zadie Smith writes about Zora Neale Hurston in her new book, Changing My Mind, Occasional Essays. Changing My Mind, Occasional Essays.

She has this to say of Their Eyes Were Watching God:


“This is a beautiful novel about soulfulness. That it should be so is a tribute to Hurston's skill. She makes "culture" — that slow and particular and artificial accretion of habit and circumstance — seem as natural and organic and beautiful as the sunrise. She allows me to indulge in what Philip Roth once called "the romance of oneself," a literary value I dislike and yet, confronted with this beguiling book, cannot resist. She makes "black woman-ness" appear a real, tangible quality, an essence I can almost believe I share, however improbably, with millions of complex individuals across centuries and continents and languages and religions...


Almost — but not quite. That is to say, when I'm reading this book, I believe it, with my whole soul. It allows me to say things I wouldn't normally. Things like "She is my sister and I love her."