Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Jonah’s Gourd Vine
Zora Neale Hurston


Born on the wrong side of the creek, John Buddy Pearson, the son of a slave, has come a long way since his shoeless days. With some schooling, a job and marriage to clever Lucy Potts, his fortunes are looking up. But, unable to resist the lure of women or a fight, he’s forced to flee town or face life on the chain gang. John finds himself in Sanford, Florida, and sends for Lucy and the children. There, he discovers a talent for preaching, and, with the support of his wife, becomes pastor of Zion Hope Church, rousing his congregation with his fervent sermons. He is now a pillar of the community, respected and popular. Before long, though, he is praying for his own sins – for his powers of persuasion aren’t limited to the pulpit – and the town won’t stand for his philandering ways. Originally published in 1934, this is Zora Neale Hurston’s first novel..

With an introduction by Jesmyn Ward.

Paperback, 240pp
Virago Press, 2020 (1934)
ISBN 9780349012223