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

By Zora Neale Hurston
304 pages
Paperback
January 2021

Among many other things, she said: "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." I call that visionary. (Aude)

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
Newsweek’s Most Anticipated Books

Essence’s Best Books by Black Authors

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.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick helps illuminate Hurston’s path to iconic status…Add [Hurston’s] matchless powers of observation, exemplary fidelity to idiomatic speech and irresistible engagement with folklore, and the outcome is a collection of value to more than Hurston completists. Any addition to her awe-inspiring oeuvre should be met with open arms.” -- New York Times Book Review

“An illuminating and delightful study of a canonical writer finding her rhythm.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Fans and scholars of Hurston’s work and the uninitiated alike will find many delights in these complex, thoughtful and wickedly funny portraits of black lives and communities… [Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick] is a significant testament to the enduring resonance of black women’s writing.” -- Washington Post

 

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