Zora was never happy with her own work.
This article is fascinating. Zora is being interviewed in Port-au-Prince Haiti by a reporter who’s just discovered that she’s not only researching a book about voodoo but is also on the verge of having another novel published in the United States. That book was “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. In the interview, she admits unhappiness with her own work. She is disappointed with her two published books, and the one that is about to be published.
“Each book has fallen short of what I wanted to make of it. And despite the fact that some critics have been kind enough to praise my work, I can’t fool myself.”
Zora was in Haiti, studying the vadoun religion under a Guggenheim grant. Her work put her in danger of her life, and she eventually went home with knowledge of the process of zombification – drugs that induced a state of unconsciousness easily mistaken for death. While others had been to Haiti and had studied the people, Zora alone isolated the secret societies and the substance that caused the zombie trance. And when given the opportunity to visit a local hospital, she brought her camera. Her photo of a zombie would be published in LIFE magazine in 1937.
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” would become an American classic.