Quicksand: A Library of America eBook Classic

Quicksand: A Library of America eBook Classic

by Nella Larsen

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Library of America presents one of the masterworks of the Harlem Renaissance, the tragic story of a young woman caught between worlds.

(1928) turns the techniques of literary naturalism on questions of race, gender, and class, with unforgettable results. Nella Larsen’s immensely stylish debut novel tells the story of sensitive, proud, and beautiful Helga Crane, the daughter (like Larsen herself) of a black West Indian father and a white Danish mother. She has what some would consider a promising career in the South, teaching at “the finest school for Negroes anywhere in the country,” and a respectable fiancé. But she refuses to settle for the loveless future she envisions, hemmed in by petty conformities and the realities of southern racism, black as well as white––and so she sets off in search a happier life, a journey recounted with great feeling and psychological precision in Quicksand. In Chicago, white in-laws disown Helga. Other relatives, in Copenhagen, fête her as a gorgeous exotic, and arrange a relationship with a famous Danish artist, but fail to see her as anything other than a marriageable commodity. Only in cosmopolitan New York, encountering what Larsen describes as “the continuously gorgeous panorama of Harlem,” does she begin to sense that she may have found a place where she might belong. But hers is a fate full of ambivalence, in which even the faith and family to which she turns are forms of entrapment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781598535747
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Series: Library of America E-Book Classics
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 136
Sales rank: 180,208
File size: 427 KB

About the Author

Nella Larsen (1891—1964) was one of the leading figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Born in Chicago to a Danish mother and a West Indian father, the latter of whom died when she was two, she worked as a nurse and a children’s librarian before her first story was published in 1926. On the strength her acclaimed novels Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929), she became the first black woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. She never again published, spending the remainder of her life working as a nurse in a Brooklyn hospital.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Fine, thoughtful and courageous. It is, on the whole, the best piece of fiction that Negro America has produced since the heyday of [Charles] Chesnutt." —W. E. B. Du Bois

Customer Reviews