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Alternate Cover Edition can be found here First published to critical acclaim in 1929 Passing firmly established Nella Larsen's prominence among women writers of the Harlem Renaissance The Modern Library is proud to present Passing—an electrifying story of two women who cross the color line in 1920s New York—together with a new Introduction by the Obie Award winning playwright and novelist Ntozake ShangeIrene Redfield the novel's protagonist is a woman with an enviable life She and her husband Brian a prominent physician share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem's elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch Clare—light skinned beautiful and charming—tells Irene how after her father's death she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white hiding her true identity from everyone including her racist husband As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene's life Irene is thrown into a panic terrified of the consequences of Clare's dangerous behavior And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deceptionBrilliantly plotted and elegantly written Passing offers a gripping psychological portrait of emotional extremity


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