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Passing (Modern Library Torchbearers) (Paperback)

Passing (Modern Library Torchbearers) Cover Image
By Nella Larsen, Kaitlyn Greenidge (Introduction by)
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Description


NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING TESSA THOMPSON AND RUTH NEGGA

Two women in 1920s New York discover how fluid and dangerous our perceptions of race can be in this electrifying classic of the Harlem Renaissance—with an introduction by Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman, finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

“The genius of this book is that its protagonists . . . are complex and fully realized. . . . The work of a highly talented and thoughtful writer.”—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Irene Redfield is living an affluent, enviable life with her husband and children in the thriving African American enclave of Harlem in the 1920s. That is, until she runs into her childhood friend, Clare Kendry. Since they last saw each other, Clare, who is similarly light-skinned, has been “passing” for a white woman, married to a racist man who does not know about his wife’s real identity, which she has chosen to hide from the rest of the world. Irene is both fascinated and repulsed by Clare’s dangerous secret, and in turn, Clare yearns for Irene’s sense of ease and security with her Black identity and community, which Clare gave up in pursuit of a more advantageous life, and which she can never embrace again. As the two women grow close, Clare begins to insert herself and her deception into every part of Irene’s stable existence, and their complex reunion sets off a chain of events that dynamically alters both women forever.
 
In this psychologically gripping and chilling novel, Nella Larsen explores the blurriness of race, sacrifice, alienation, and desire that defined her own experience as a woman of mixed race, issues that still powerfully resonate today. Ultimately, Larsen forces us to consider whether we can ever truly choose who we are.

The Modern Library Torchbearers series features women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.

About the Author


Nella Larsen (1891–1964) is one of the most well-known names in the Harlem Renaissance canon and a fixture in African American and women’s studies, though much of her personal history remains elusive. She also worked as a nurse and a librarian, and she was the first African American woman to receive a Guggenheim fellowship.

Praise For…


Praise for Nella Larsen and Passing

“The genius of this book is that its protagonists . . .  are complex and fully realized. . . . The work of a highly talented and thoughtful writer.”—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

“[Larsen’s novels] 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.”—Alice Walker

Product Details
ISBN: 9780375758133
ISBN-10: 0375758135
Publisher: Modern Library
Publication Date: May 28th, 2002
Pages: 192
Language: English
Series: Modern Library Torchbearers