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First published in 1929, Nella Larsen’s remarkable novel Passing is an unacknowledged classic worthy of a chic reprinting. In her second and final novel, Larsen explores the theme of racial passing, meaning a person of color, particularly someone with fair skin, choosing to pass as white. Irene Redfield is content: she’s married, has two kids, and is an event planner for Harlem’s high society. However, Irene’s life begins to unravel when she unexpectedly meets a childhood acquaintance, Clare Kendry, when visiting her hometown. Clare reveals to Irene that she is passing as white, and Irene soon learns at another meeting that Clare’s husband is a racist white man. Troubled by Clare’s dangerous decisions, Irene tries to keep her distance. But Clare’s relentless pursuit of Irene’s friendship continues to jeopardize Clare’s future. Larsen writes about the private lives of her black female characters with incredible sympathy and renders the unmistakable tension harboring inside them alluring.

Restless Classic’s edition comes with a set of ten original works of art from the accomplished Maggie Lily, whose striking black-and-white illustrations offer a dreamy interpretation of Larsen’s memorable scenes. Additionally, in his thoughtful introduction, Darryl Pinckney, acclaimed author and critic, provides a brief author biography and approachable analysis that will enlighten readers on the significance of Larsen’s obscure novel. This version of Passing will make a wonderful addition to a collector’s library.

Reviewed By:

Author Nella Larsen • Maggie Lily, Illustrator • Darryl Pinckney, Introduction
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 192 pages
Publisher Restless Books
Publish Date 2018-Oct-02
ISBN 9781632062024 Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Modern Literature


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