Quicksand & Passing: Two Novels, by Nella Larsen

Paperback review

Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 01:00

   
 

Book Title:
Quicksand & Passing (two novels)

ISBN-13:
978-1846687853

Author:
Nella Larsen

Publisher:
Serpent’s Tail

Guideline Price:
£8.99

Nella Larsen had a Danish mother and a black Caribbean father, but she was culturally a negro (a word she uses freely). As she was writing in the United States of the 1920s, her identity carried significant weight, so it is staggering to see how perverse attitudes were. Quicksand, which uses Larsen’s autobiographical details, follows mixed-race Helga Crane as she looks for a safe place to exist. It is to Larsen’s credit that the main character is petulant with an ignoble value system wherein she hankers after the comfortable option. Passing refers to people with black blood passing themselves off as white. The peculiarity is that it is set in a well-to-do black milieu that simulates the snobbish affectation of the white equivalent. Within this microculture they cultivate as much pretentiousness as the Park Avenue toffs whom they despise for their racist animosity. Fusions of romantic fiction and sociopolitical commentary, these are precious and unusual works.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.
From Monday 20th October 2014 we're changing how readers sign-in to comment, click here for more information.