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Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick: Stories 
By Zora Neale Hurston
(Amistad)     

No matter your level of familiarity with Zora Neale Hurston’s writing, this posthumous collection of her stories—including eight that have never before been published—is a treat. Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick places Hurston’s most famous stories, including Spunk and Muttsy, alongside previously hidden gems like A Bit of Harlem. 

Hurston famously set most of her stories and novels in her hometown of Eatonville, FL, but this book expands her territory. Ordered chronologically, the first offerings in the collection are set in the South, and readers then move with Hurston to New York, where she explores marriage, class, and race in the city. One stand-out is “The Back Room,” a deliciously detail-heavy depiction of a glitzy Harlem party; another is the satirical “Monkey Junk,” in which a man is conned by his duplicitous wife. Then, in “The Country in the Woman,” a cheating husband laments that his wife “couldn’t keep up with him here.” Often funny and always smart, this sampler of work won’t just remind readers how special Hurston was—it also offers up new reasons to love her.

By Lydia Wang 

Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick was published January 14, 2020. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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