Quicksand

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Courier Corporation, Mar 6, 2012 - Fiction - 144 pages
15 Reviews
Helga's mother is white, and her father is black--and absent. Ostracized throughout her lonely childhood for her dark skin, Helga spends her adult life seeking acceptance. Everywhere she goes — the American South, Harlem, even Denmark--she feels oppressed. Socially, economically, and psychologically, Helga struggles against the "quicksand" of classism, racism, and sexism.
One of the most acclaimed and influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen published her powerful first novel in 1928. Quicksand features intriguing autobiographical parallels with Larsen's own life, in addition to reflecting many aspects of African-American culture of the 1920s. Alice Walker praised it and Passing (Larsen's second novel, also available in a Dover edition) as "novels I will never forget. They open up a whole world of experience and struggle that seemed to me, when I first read them years ago, absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable."
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - froxgirl - LibraryThing

Nella Larsen is quite a discovery; a lost writer of the Harlem Renaissance. Only two novellas of hers were published, and then she was unjustly accused of plagiarism of a story and stopped writing ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlCracka - LibraryThing

Does not get off to a great start; the writing is pretty wince-y in the early going: "Helga ducked her head under the covers in a vain attempt to shut out what she knew would fill the pregnant silence ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Nella Larsen was associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She also worked as a librarian and a nurse in New York City, pursuing nursing after her brief, successful writing career until her death in 1964. Larsen's mother was Danish, and her father was West Indian; she used her experience as the child of middle-class parents in a mixed marriage to create characters in two novels who are stranded, caught between two cultures and unable to feel wholly at home in either. In each of Larsen's novels, the heroine suffers suffocating constrictions of her identity in both African American and white European culture. These crises in both Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) are further complicated by the heroine's quest for sexual as well as social identity, and both novels end without hopeful resolution. Both contain autobiographical elements, but Quicksand, the more successful, reproduced in fictional form many of the circumstances of Larsen's own early life. Although her work had been out of print for many years, she has recently been rediscovered.

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