They were best friends. They were collaborators, literary gadflies, and champions of the common people. They were the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. The dramatic story of one of the most influential friendships in literature.
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 ... Taylor has created an intimate portrait of two luminaries of American literature against a backdrop of the cultural, political, and economic forces that influenced them.
Taylor provides so much background for Hughes and Hurston as individuals that the details of their friendship sometimes get lost. However, one does not need to know much about the pair in order to enjoy this account, which is likely to appeal to their fans who have not read comprehensive biographies of either author.
Highly readable and informative ... The book offers an overlong and needlessly detailed look at the complicated fight over the pair’s coauthored play Mule-Bone, which ended their friendship. Nevertheless, Taylor paints a sympathetic but realistic portrait of these two complicated artists and convincingly shows that, together, they changed the course of African-American literature, as the 'first great American writers who implicitly claimed that their work was purely black.'