One of the most acclaimed and influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larsen published her powerful first novel in 1928. Quicksand features intriguing autobiographical parallels with Larsen's own life, in addition to reflecting many aspects of African-American culture of the 1920s. Alice Walker praised it and Passing (Larsen's second novel, also available in a Dover edition) as "novels I will never forget. They 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."
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Not What it Seems
This is a complex read I would say. When I read through it on my own, I couldn't understand why it was even published, let alone considered a good or important book. After discussing it with one of my professors however I truly feel it is well written and a fantastic portrait of a be specific scene. The book takes place during the 1920s, and follows the life of Helga Crane, a half-white/half-black woman who has suffered all he'd life from the implications of her mixed skin. She makes a bold switch from the philosophies of Booker T Washington to those of W E B Du Boise very suddenly at the start of the book, quitting her job and going off to find her family in Chicago. Things don't go as planned for her there though, and her story takes her to several other places across the globe. She constantly struggles between working for a better inner-self and for a better outer-self, not truly able to let herself move away from the growing consumer culture of the 1920s - a world of advertising and 'necessary evils.' She's in love with having things, has a very quick temper, and makes rash, often very unwise, decisions. I walk away from this book having felt sympathy, pity, shame, anger, and a total loss of respect for her and her choices, wondering what will happen to her after all she's been through. The author, I will also note, makes some very interesting word choices, making for fantastic descriptions and images. It's a heavy, slow read, but if understood, well worth it.by Meredith on May 29, 2013
by Nella Larsen
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by Nella Larsen
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by on September 24, 2016
- Dover Publications, March 2012
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