Review: Dust Tracks on a Road — Zora Neale Hurston

Read: 63
To Go: 37

Book List
61. Skyward — Mary Alice Monroe
62. The Journals of Sylvia Plath — Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes
63. Dust Tracks on a Road — Zora Neale Hurston

This book doesn’t really need a summary: it’s Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography. Another book from my Studies in Auto/Biography class.

I’ll be straight up: I don’t have that much to say about this book all together, nor do I have the time to say it. It’ll probably be a short review.

So here’s the quick and dirty:  from what I understand, Zora Neale Hurston had absolutely no intention of writing her autobiography. She was persuaded to do so by her publisher, who believed that, given her multiple successful books and place in the Harlem Renaissance, there was a market for her life story.

After its release, critics flayed Hurston for her inconsistent structure and odd amount of appendices following the end of the book. That, and, contrary to the nature of the genre, she failed to reveal much about herself.

I can see where the criticism came from. It was a painfully long read about nothing, really. Hurston was irritatingly vague; inserted long anecdotes about stories and games that she had invented as a child, which lacked importance overall and could have been summed up by saying “I was an inventive child;” rambled on about things that never really intersected with her life at all; and did not attempt to delve much into herself. The question “who is Zora Neale Hurston?” was never answered. And that’s just really frustrating.

Next book: The Silent Woman — Janet Malcolm

Next feature: oh, the usual.

– Kelsey

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