Booklist Reviews ZORA AND LANGSTON: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal by Yuval Taylor

Fascinating in their own rights as major literary figures, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are also fascinating for their complicated relationship, which ended in a spectacular clash. They met in New York and became key members of the Harlem Renaissance. She was from rural Florida, adept at capturing the folk culture of common people. He was from a more complex background of privilege and struggle, well-regarded for his penetrating poetry. Both wrestled with the complexities of African American culture and the meaning of authenticity at a time of racist stereotypes. In the midst of it all was Charlotte Osgood Mason, a wealthy white woman who supported and sought to control Hughes, Hurston, and other artists and writers. Deeply dependent on Mason, Hughes and Hurston struggled to be true to themselves as individuals and artists. They defied her by attempting to write a play together, a project that would ultimately tear apart their friendship. Taylor (Darkest America, 2012) has created an intimate portrait of two luminaries of American literature against a backdrop of the cultural, political, and economic forces that influenced them. Reviewed February 15, 2019

Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal by Yuval Taylor will be published on March 26th by W.W. Norton & Co.