Passing (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Fiction - 304 pages
27 Reviews
First published to critical acclaim in 1929, Passing firmly established Nella Larsen's prominence among women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The Modern Library is proud to present Passing—an electrifying story of two women who cross the color line in 1920s New York—together with a new Introduction by the Obie Award- winning playwright and novelist Ntozake Shange.

Irene Redfield, the novel's protagonist, is a woman with an enviable life. She and her husband, Brian, a prominent physician, share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons. Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem's elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene. But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry, a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch. Clare—light-skinned, beautiful, and charming—tells Irene how, after her father's death, she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene's life, Irene is thrown into a panic, terrified of the consequences of Clare's dangerous behavior. And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind, her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deception.

Brilliantly plotted and elegantly written, Passing offers a gripping psychological portrait of emotional extremity. The New York Times Book Review called Larsen "adroit at tracing the involved processes of a mind divided against itself, that fights between the dictates of reason and desire." The Saturday Review of Literature said, "[Larsen] has produced a work so fine, sensitive, and distinguished that it rises above race categories and becomes that rare object, a good novel."


From the Trade Paperback edition.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - froxgirl - LibraryThing

The second novella from Nella Larsen, lost writer of the Harlem Renaissance. In this book, Irene reconnects with her childhood friend Clare, who is passing for white in a marriage with a typical white ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - June_Clark - LibraryThing

Page turner! The end leaves you wondering why? Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Carla Kaplan is the Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University. She is the author of "The Erotics of Talk: Women's Writing and Feminist Paradigms, Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters", and "Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance" (forthcoming). She is also editor of "Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk Tales from the Gulf States" and "Dark Symphony and Other Works by Elizabeth Laura Adams".

Ntozake Shange is a celebrated poet and author of many novels and plays, including the Obie Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which was made into a feature film. Ms. Shange is also the author of several children's books, including the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book Ellington Was Not a Street, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

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