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Big Books Reviews

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica

Big Books Issue 2001

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By Afefe Tyehimba | Posted 9/26/2001

Zora Neale Hurston

Though dirt poor and living in total obscurity when she died in 1960, Zora Neale Hurston had spent decades writing about black culture, creating an enduring literary legacy. Equal parts artist and anthropologist, Hurston took black traditions out of the realm of myths and superstitions and brought them alive to readers. In this landmark travelogue, first published in 1938, Hurston treks through Jamaica and Haiti, not just to study and write about voodoo and other African-based belief systems and rituals, but to experience those things firsthand as an initiate. For Hurston, there was no better way to inform this memoir and layer it with meaning.

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