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


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.

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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.

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304 pages

Average rating: 7.93




Community Reviews

The Nerdy Narrative
Jul 19, 2024
10/10 stars

Zora Neale Hurston is a literary genius. How is it more people are not screaming from the rooftops about her work? I have to change this!

This collection of short stories was nothing short of amazing. Each story had its own ability to reach in and touch your soul and evoke different emotions and feelings: heartwarming, sadness, hope, acceptance, revenge, redemption, forgiveness, etc. There are about 4 stories that I didn't connect with or weren't that interested in, but the rest were phenomenal. The prose is gorgeous and authentic. I felt so connected with these characters, some are very beloved to me now. I am so happy to have this in physical format so I can pick it up and reread these stories whenever I like!
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