• Chicago, 1927. Deux amies d'enfance, longtemps éloignées, se retrouvent un jour de canicule. Tout les oppose, hormis le fait d'être Noires et suffisamment claires de peau pour pouvoir « passer » pour Blanches. Entre Claire, la femme fatale, et Irène, la respectable mère de famille, une relation passionnée se noue, déployant tout le spectre de l'amitié, de l'amour et de la haine. Claire, mariée à un Blanc raciste qui ignore qu'elle est Noire, souhaite renouer avec les siens. Irène, qui revendique au contraire son appartenance à la « race », l'aide à se rapprocher d'une communauté dont elle s'est tenue à l'écart des années durant.
    Claire s'immisce ainsi jusqu'au coeur de la vie réglée d'Irène, auprès de son mari Brian...

  • Sables mouvants

    Nella Larsen

    L'héroïne quitte le Sud raciste des États-Unis pour se rendre à Harlem où elle espère trouver un monde où place soit faite aux Noirs. Cause perdue après quelques mois d'enthousiasme. Elle ne supporte plus d'exister dans un face-à-face avec le monde blanc auquel il faut encore se comparer pour exister. Dualité qu'elle porte dans son âme métisse. Reconnue avec distance par ses compatriotes noirs dont son père est issu, elle ne supportera pas non plus le retour en terre maternelle à Copenhague et finira sa vie au Sud...

    La magie du texte réside tout d'abord dans son écriture proustienne très sensuelle. Nella Larsen déploie l'épopée romanesque d'un métissage vécu à l'époque d'une transition cruciale, 50 ans seulement après l'abolition de l'esclavage aux États-Unis et au coeur d'un mouvement, « Harlem Renaissance », qui a révolutionné les relations entre les Noirs et les Blancs.
    L'héroïne, terriblement attachante, peut être comparée à Madame Bovary dans son refus systématique d'accéder au bonheur. Traduction : Florence Canicave.

  • PASSING

    Nella Larsen

    Fair, elegant, and ambitious, Clare 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, 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. The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

  • QUICKSAND

    Nella Larsen

    Born to a white mother and an absent black father, and despised for her dark skin, Helga Crane has long had to fend for herself. As a young woman, Helga teaches at an all-black school in the South, but even here she feels different. Moving to Harlem and eventually to Denmark, she attempts to carve out a comfortable life and place for herself, but ends up back where she started, choosing emotional freedom that quickly translates into a narrow existence. br>br>b>Quicksand/b>, b>Nella Larsen/b>''s powerful first novel, has intriguing autobiographical parallels and at the same time invokes the international dimension of African American culture of the 1920s. It also evocatively portrays the racial and gender restrictions that can mark a life.br>br>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.

  • PASSING - FILM TIE-IN

    Nella Larsen

    Nella Larsen's distinctive and revealing novel about racial identity set in New York in 1929. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Alexander Skarsgard. Irene Redfield, married to a successful physician, enjoys a comfortable life in Harlem, New York. Reluctantly, she renews her friendship with old school friend, Clare Kendry. Clare, who like Irene is light skinned, 'passes' as white and is married to a racist white man who has no idea about Clare's racial heritage. Even though Irene knows that reigniting her friendship with Clare will lead to trouble, she can't resist allowing Irene into her world. Irene in turn wants to rekindle her bonds with the African American community of her youth. As tensions mount between friends and between couples, this taut and mesmerizing narrative spins towards an unexpected end. This edition of Passing features an introduction by writer and academic, Christa Holm Vogelius.

  • This volume brings together the complete fiction of the author of Passing and Quicksand , one of the most gifted writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout her short but brilliant literary career, Nella Larsen wrote piercing dramas about the black middle class that featured sensitive, spirited heroines struggling to find a place where they belonged. Passing , Larsens best-known work, is a disturbing story about the unraveling lives of two childhood friends, one of whom turns her back on her past and marries a white bigot. Just as disquieting is the portrait in Quicksand of Helga Crane, half black and half white, who is unable to escape her loneliness no matter where and with whom she lives. Race and marriage offer few securities here or in the other stories in this compulsively readable collection, rich in psychological complexity and imbued with a sense of place that brings Harlem vibrantly to life.

empty