Author: Nella Larsen
Areas Featured: Harlem

Clare and Irene, the protagonists of Nella Larsen's second and final novel, Passing, knew each other as children. They lost touch, only to meet later in life, in Chicago. Irene learns that Clare has been "passing" (living as a white person despite her black heritage), and has, in fact, married a white racist. Meanwhile, Irene lives in Harlem with her husband, a physician, and both are deeply involved in the Harlem Renaissance. The chance meeting and the revelation that Clare has been passing sets into motion a complicated look at the construction of identity. —RS