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Poker!   By: (1901?-1960)

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In "Poker!" Zora Neale Hurston takes readers on a journey into the captivating world of professional poker. This gripping novel delves deep into the complexities of the game, while also exploring themes of love, identity, and self-discovery.

Hurston's writing is as bold and vibrant as ever, flawlessly capturing the raw emotions and high stakes that come with the game. The characters she creates are vivid and memorable, each with their unique quirks and motivations. From the fearless protagonist to the cunning villains, every player at the poker table comes alive through nuanced dialogue and expertly crafted descriptions.

What sets "Poker!" apart from other novels in the genre is Hurston's ability to seamlessly weave in social commentary. She explores the racial and gender dynamics of the time, shedding light on the challenges and prejudices faced by African Americans and women in a traditionally male-dominated world. Hurston's keen observations and sharp wit offer valuable insights into the societal structures and power dynamics that shape the characters' lives.

The pacing of the narrative is impeccable, with each hand of poker building suspense and tension. As the stakes rise, so does the emotional investment of the reader. Hurston skillfully manages to balance the intricacies of the game, making it accessible to both poker enthusiasts and those without prior knowledge of the rules.

While the game of poker serves as the backdrop for the story, "Poker!" ultimately delves into deeper themes of self-discovery and personal growth. The characters, confronted with their own shortcomings and mistakes, embark on a journey of introspection. Hurston expertly depicts their struggles, making their triumphs all the more satisfying.

"Poker!" is a remarkable novel that showcases Zora Neale Hurston's boundless talent as a writer. Her ability to capture the essence of both the game and the human spirit is unparalleled. With its captivating characters, thought-provoking social commentary, and thrilling narrative, this book is an absolute must-read for anyone seeking a truly immersive literary experience.

First Page:

[Transcriber's Note: This play transcribed from an original manuscript. There are pencilled notations possibly by Ms. Hurston herself. These pencilled edits have been transcribed as [Handwritten: (text)]]

Copyright 1931 by Zora [Handwritten: Neale] Hurston


Time Present

Place New York

Cast of characters Nunkie Too Sweet Peckerwood Black Baby Sack Daddy Tush Hawg Aunt Dilsey


A shabby front room in a shotgun house.

A door covered by dingy portieres upstage C. Small panel window in side Wall L. Plain centre table with chairs drawn up about it. Gaudy calendars on wall. Battered piano against wall R. Kerosene lamp with reflector against wall on either side of room.

At rise of curtain NUNKIE is at piano playing.... Others at table with small stacks of chips before each man. TUSH HAWG is seated at table so that he faces audience. He is expertly riffing the cards ... looks over his shoulder and speaks to NUNKIE.

TUSH HAWG Come on here, Nunkie and take a hand! You're holding up the game. You been woofin' round here about the poker you can play now do it!

NUNKIE Yeah, I plays poker. I plays the piano and Gawd knows I plays the devil. I'm Uncle Bob with a wooden leg![Handwritten: Last sentence crossed out in pencil in manuscript... Continue reading book >>

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