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Passing

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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."

Synopsis:

"Passing", first published to critical acclaim in 1929, is the electrifying story of two women who dare to cross the color line in New York in the 1920s. Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, childhood friends who are reunited as adults by a chance encounter, are light-skinned black women, able to "pass" in white society. But only Clare has chosen to live as a white woman — hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. And when she reunites with Irene, and sees the vibrancy and energy of the Harlem she left behind so many years ago, her burning desire to come back threatens to sweep away her careful deception.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375504464
Author:
Larsen, Nella
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
New York
Subject:
Passing
Subject:
African-American women
Edition Number:
2000
Edition Description:
2000 Modern Library ed.
Series:
Modern Library (Cloth)
Series Volume:
104-853
Publication Date:
c2000
Binding:
Trade Cloth
Language:
English
Pages:
xiv, 182 p.
Dimensions:
7.50x4.90x.66 in. .55 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General

Passing
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$ In Stock
Product details xiv, 182 p. pages Modern Library - English 9780375504464 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Passing", first published to critical acclaim in 1929, is the electrifying story of two women who dare to cross the color line in New York in the 1920s. Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, childhood friends who are reunited as adults by a chance encounter, are light-skinned black women, able to "pass" in white society. But only Clare has chosen to live as a white woman — hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. And when she reunites with Irene, and sees the vibrancy and energy of the Harlem she left behind so many years ago, her burning desire to come back threatens to sweep away her careful deception.
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