Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

Written by Zora Neale Hurston

Narrated by Aunjanue Ellis


Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

Written by Zora Neale Hurston

Narrated by Aunjanue Ellis

ratings:
4/5 (93 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2020
ISBN:
9780062915832
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

Editor's Note

Editor’s pick…

“Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick” brings together 21 of Zora Neale Hurston’s stories, including eight “lost” tales dug up in dusty old archives and long-forgotten periodicals. Seasoned with the perfect blend of sarcasm, lively dialogue, and wicked humor, these stories serve up a sharp (and entertaining) look at racism and sexism, the country versus the city, and love gone sour.

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2020
ISBN:
9780062915832
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist. She wrote four novels (Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935, and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); an international bestselling nonfiction work (Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” 2018); and over fifty short stories, essays, and plays. She attended Howard University, Barnard College, and Columbia University and was a graduate of Barnard College in 1928. She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida. 



Reviews

What people think about Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

3.9
93 ratings / 7 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Audioperformance was excellent. Stories were a mixed bag but started strong.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    The way that Zora crafted these stories! They’re all amazing!
  • (4/5)
    These rediscovered stories show the talent of Hurston the author and Hurston the anthropologist. The rural stories originate from her home in Eatonville, FL, the first town successfully established by African American freedmen. She turns an eye, at times jaundiced, at times hopeful, all times so warmly expressed and laugh-out-loud hilarious, to domestic situations primarily ruled by abusive husbands. The city stories are from Harlem, and it's almost like another woman has taken over Hurston’s pen via biblical recitations of similar domestic strife, with these created by country men who seek to take advantage of the vastness of the sophisticated female population. I prefer the tales from Eatonville, but all are enjoyable and filled with wisdom and charm.Quotes: "Ah got to shave Gran'ma.""Who say so?", Joel asked, surprised."Nobody doan hafta tell me. Look at her chin. No ladies don't weah no whiskers if they kin help it.""Brazzle's yellow mule, his Yaller Highness, was always mentioned before the weather, the misery of the back or leg, or the hard times.""Joe Clarke's store porch was full of chewing men. Some chewed tobacco, some chewed cane, some chewed straws, for the villager is a ruminant in his leisure."
  • (5/5)
    I found the introduction to this book by Genevieve West particularly helpful in helping me understand Huston’s growth as a writer. Although I struggled with the black dialect, it was a necessary part of the story. I found myself reading much of the conversation out loud to understand what was said. What Hurston did so adeptly was showing the sad side of love, how race and poverty puts people in positions that aren’t favorable to them. Hurston’s ability to observe people and then recreate them in short stories is evident. Yes, this wasn’t my favorite book, but it is an important book in helping me to understand how a writer’s talents are developed.
  • (4/5)
    This was my second read by Zora Neale Hurston. I read Barracoon and enjoyed reading that novel, which felt more like an anthology. My book group AAABDG picked Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick for discussion. I listened to the audiobook version read by Aunjanue Ellis, which I highly recommend, because she does a wonderful narration in differentiating the characters. First and distinguishable is the eye catching colorful artwork on the cover. The introduction by Genevieve West was long, detailed and informative, but I was anxious to get to the stories. A beautiful forward by Tayari Jones (another great author). This is a book that requires you to take your time reading to understand the dialect of the time and to follow the changes in her writing styles that progressed and grew as written in chronological order.Written in the 1920s and most of the stories took place in Eatonville, Florida and Harlem with colorful characters like Muttsy, Bluefoot, Spunk and Pinkie. I didn't love all of the twenty one stories, but I favored a few. "John Redding Goes to Sea" was depicting men v women and the desire to venture other places was heartbreaking. "The Conversion of Sam" depicts class and race division that tugs at your emotions. "Sweat" entails domestic abuse and infidelity, it was gut wrenching. "Under The Bridge," a sad but tender tale of love between a father, wife and son. "The Country in the Woman" brings Cal'line and Mitchell Potts to revisit with a hilarious outcome to the story, which should have been part ll to the previous story in The Eatonville Anthology titled "Pants and Cal'line." The final favorite was "The Gilded Six-Bits” that addressed infidelity and greed, but love triumphed."The Eatonville Anthology" were snippets of various stories and felt incomplete, but interesting just the same. The re-mention of Sykes Jones, in "Tippy" and womanizing Joe Clarke in "Coon Taylor,"and "The Head of the Nail," Brazzle in "Village Fiction" are characters from previous stories, which brought me familiarity. "Possum or Pig?" was the shortest story in the book (2 pages), but was humorous. Cal'line with her axe once again makes an appearance in "She Rock." I was not fond of the stories that were written in bible verses. Overall, I enjoyed the read with its southern drawl vernacular, skillful use of idioms, class, gender, sexism, folklore and identity. Hurston explored the African American culture in these stories, as well as adultery and infidelity in a marriage. I'm proud to include this book into my collection.
  • (4/5)
    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!