[[ read online ePUB ]] Passing (Penguin Classics)Author Nella Larsen – Entrecielos.co

The title of this book refers to a group of light skinned African American women who can pass for white during Jim Crow I give this book five stars, with one reservation I found the book fascinating, with some amazing writing, and a riveting plot line that you are dropped into without the slightest suspicion, and blindsided by the depth of the psychological drama that unfolds My criticism is that the book ends too quickly, and too abruptly I would have read three times as much about this astounding world, and all of the multiple characters, black and white, that are brought to life so vividly, along with the glamor of the Harlem Renaissance It should have been a much longer book This writer got a Guggenheim and then couldn t get her subsequent book published I heard about this book because it was the subject of a discussion at the Waterstones bookstore in London, and since it was an American writer, it made me curious I suspect the author s life, as a black woman in those days, led her into the kind of poverty and obscurity that Zora Neale Hurston ended up living, as a hotel maid, at the time of her death We lost out on the kind of body of work they might have produced had they been of a race, class and gender that offered support for their literary gifts. The introduction is every bit of 32 pages long A lot of times, I get the impression that these academics who couldn t write a book about anything that anybody else would be interested in are piggybacking on the talents of people who can.The prose of this book is excessively formal and stilted I only very rarely read fiction books, and so I m not sure to whom to compare this book It puts me in mind of Joseph Conrad, only less discursive.The black people in this book are not the ones that I know, and that does make sense since the character of black cities changed dramatically after the Great Migration from the South.Also, this book took place nearly 100 years ago I don t think anybody at that time could ever have conceived of people like Kim Kardashian Or, any of the Kardashians, for that matter.I don t know if there was this extreme delineation between races, but even if it was so then it s not particularly relevant to what exists today And it s especially irrelevant given that some historical background is necessary so that the allusions in this book are not missed.It s not that all black people were poor and all white people were rich, and you could become one or the other simply by changing your racial identity.Verdict Pass on this one. I was unaware of this book and found it when I was searching for a classic by an author of color for a reading challenge At 95 pages this is of a novella than a novel It was written in 1927 during the Harlem Renaissance Given the time period, it is a remarkable book that is still relevant today.The story is narrated by Irene Redfield, a light skinned black woman She is married to a black physician and they have two sons She is living in Harlem with her family but grew up in Chicago During a trip home, she meets a childhood friend named Clare Bellew Clare is also light skinned but has decided to go native, living her life as a white woman She is married to a wealthy white man who is an overt racist He has no idea that his wife and their young daughter are black Clare insinuates herself into Irene s life and even comes to New York City for an extended stay Irene is both fascinated and repelled by Clare The book examines each woman s approach to passing for white Irene, who is insecure, seems to envy Clare s confidence and also resent it She also fears that Clare has made a dangerous mistake by lying to her husband about her heritage There are several tense moments in the book when Irene has the opportunity to out Clare She always chooses to keep her secret Irene s internal struggle between being proud of her heritage and protecting her friend is painfully drawn out to a horrible conclusion.Though the book is short, as are the sentences and paragraphs, it packs a big punch You can read this quickly, but the book is better when you savor the words and think about the implications To me, the novel is about mixed feelings and blurred lines You can feel Irene s ambivalence The author does not provide any right answers and the book ends with even questions Some literary critics suggest that there is a lesbian element to the relationship between Irene and Clare I wondered about that myself, but that is not a central part of the book in my opinion Passing was not a part of my college reading list, but I am so glad that I found it. A Classic, Brilliant And Layered Novel That Has Been At The Heart Of Racial Identity Discourse In America For Almost A CenturyClare Kendry Leads A Dangerous Life Fair, Elegant, And Ambitious, She Is Married To A White Man Unaware Of Her African American Heritage And Has Severed All Ties To Her Past Clare S Childhood Friend, Irene Redfield, Just As Light Skinned, Has Chosen To Remain Within The African American Community, But Refuses To Acknowledge The Racism That Continues To Constrict Her Family S Happiness A Chance Encounter Forces Both Women To Confront The Lies They Have Told Others And The Secret Fears They Have Buried Within Themselves