7 days of nominations! 7 days of voting!
And now we have a winner for the February Book of the Month.
The Mocha Girl Read Book of the Month for February 2022 is Passing by Nella Larsen.
Take a minute to see what this book is all about.
Nella Larsen’s powerful, thrilling, and tragic tale about the fluidity of racial identity that continues to resonate today. A New York Times Editors’ Choice. Now a major motion picture starring Tessa Thompson and Alexander Skarsgård
Clare Kendry is living on the edge. Light-skinned, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a racist white man unaware of her African American heritage, and has severed all ties to her past after deciding to “pass” as a white woman. Clare’s childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, and is simultaneously allured and repelled by Clare’s risky decision to engage in racial masquerade for personal and societal gain. After frequenting African American-centric gatherings together in Harlem, Clare’s interest in Irene turns into a homoerotic longing for Irene’s black identity that she abandoned and can never embrace again, and she is forced to grapple with her decision to pass for white in a way that is both tragic and telling. This edition features a new introduction by Emily Bernard and notes by Thadious M. Davis.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Larsen was born to a Danish mother and a West Indian father who died when she was two years old. She studied for a year at Fisk University, where she first experienced life within an all-black community, and later audited classes at the University of Copenhagen (1910–12) in Denmark. Settling in New York City, she graduated from nursing school and also became a children’s librarian. Her marriage to a black physics professor and her friendship with Carl Van Vechten brought her social prominence. In 1933 she and her husband were divorced, and after 1941 Larsen worked as a nurse in a Brooklyn hospital until her death.
Larsen’s first story was published in 1926. Her first novel, Quicksand (1928), concerns a young, headstrong biracial woman who seeks love, acceptance, and a sense of purpose, only to be mired in an emotional morass of her own creation. Her second novel, Passing (1929), centers on two light-skinned women, one of whom, Irene, marries a black man and lives in Harlem, while the other, Clare, marries a white man but cannot reject her black cultural ties. In 1930 Larsen became the first black woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. She never published again.
Buy the Book
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