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Passing by Nella Larsen

Irene Redfield, married to a successful physician, enjoys a comfortable life in 1920s Harlem, New York. Reluctantly, she renews her friendship with old school friend, Clare Kendry. Clare, who like Irene is light skinned, ‘passes’ as white and is married to a racist white man who has no idea about Clare’s racial heritage.

Clare is very persuasive and Irene, despite misgivings, can’t resist letting her back into her world. As tensions mount between friends and between couples, this taut and mesmerizing narrative spins towards an unexpected end.

A tragic story rooted in inescapable facts of American life . . . Passing is the work of a highly talented and thoughtful writer

The New York Times

Nella Larsen’s uncanny, tightly structured 1929 novel about Black female friendship, mirroring, deception, and class privilege.

New Yorker

About the Product:

  • Type: Hardback
  • Published: 25 June 2020
  • ISBN:  9781529040289
  • Length: 160 pages

About the Author

Nella Larsen was born in Chicago in 1891 to a white Danish mother and a black West Indian father. She studied in America and Denmark and throughout her writing career she worked as a children’s librarian and primarily as a nurse.

In 1928 her first novel Quicksand was published to great critical acclaim. Passing was published a year later. Her marriage to Dr Elmer Imes brought her into contact with the upper echelons of New York’s black society and she became an important female voice of the Harlem Renaissance. She was the first black woman to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for creative writing.

Divorced in 1933, she spent the rest of her life working as nurse. Nella Larsen died in 1964.

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