Quicksand & Passing
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Recommended by Charlie
‘The two novels by the American writer Nella Larsen – Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) – are short works that explore complex themes. Like Larsen herself, the protagonists are mixed-race women who challenge contemporary attitudes not only to race but to class, gender and desire. Both books are small masterpieces that deserve to be better known.’
From the publisher
VINTAGE CLASSICS' HARLEM RENAISSANCE SERIES
Celebrating the finest works of the Harlem Renaissance, one of the most important Black arts movements in modern history.
'She could neither conform nor be happy in her unconformity'
Nella Larsen wrote two novels in her lifetime, both of which are collected here. The first, Quicksand, follows a mixed-race woman who runs from the fictional town of Naxos to Chicago to Harlem to Copenhagen. It becomes easy for her to leave behind places but the discrimination she's running from is inescapable. In Passing, two childhood friends reconnect later in life. One, slightly more light-skinned than the other, lives her life passing for a white person, married to a flagrant racist while her friend observes uneasily.
Masterfully plotted and infinitely illuminating, Quicksand and Passing are two of the finest works of the Harlem Renaissance.
'A beloved novel from the Harlem Renaissance that follows the fraught relationship between two childhood friends, one who passes for white and one who chooses not to' Brit Bennett
'Absolutely absorbing, fascinating and indispensable' Alice Walker
'Buy the book' W. E. B. Du Bois