Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God gets the Folio Society treatment in a stunning new edition illustrated by Diana Ejaita and introduction by Zadie Smith.
In our review of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God a few years ago, we wrote: “Despite being constantly ridiculed by her peers and held down by her previous three marriages, Hurston presents a woman that despite her turbulent life, leads her own fate towards growth and most importantly self-love.”
The book’s heroine Janie Mae Crawford’s been gone a long while, so tongues start wagging when she casually strolls back into town one evening. Her third husband is nowhere to be seen, but there’s more to Janie than first appearances imply. When her kissin-friend Phoeby arrives with a rice supper and a shoulder to cry on, Janie finds the strength to recount her journey.
Set in rural Florida in the early 1900s, Hurston’s novel was heavily critiqued upon publication and went out of print for 30 years. Saving the novel from literary obscurity, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker rediscovered and championed the beautifully written story helping to attract a rapt new audience for when it was reissued in 1978. At the time Alice Walker said: “There is no book more important to me than this one. It speaks to me as no novel, past or present, has ever done.”
Their Eyes Were Watching God has gone on to become one of the most celebrated African American novels of the 20th century and is considered a modern classic.
The book has now received the Folio Society treatment having been released as a special collector’s edition with illustrations by Diana Ejaita. Diana celebrates Janie’s journey of self-discovery with her signature bold and joyful artwork, which includes a vibrant slipcase design.
With her past credits including cover art for the New Yorker, a Google Doodle and her previous work exploring African culture and questions of post-colonial identity, Nigerian-Italian Diana Ejaita is an excellent choice to visually interpret the book.
Also lending her support for this important novel is author Zadie Smith who provides the book’s introduction, Zadie once commented: “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”.”
This 232-page collector’s edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God will feed your mind and your eyes and will surely be a proud part of your book collection.
The special collector’s edition of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937; Folio 2022), £49.95, is exclusively available from the Folio Society website.