Passing


Read by Elizabeth Klett

(4.5 stars; 135 reviews)

Nella Larsen, a novelist of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote two brilliant novels that interrogated issues of gender and race. In Passing, her second novel published in 1929, she examines the troubled friendship between two mixed-race women who can pass as white. One, Irene Redfield, marries a black man and lives in Harlem, while the other, Clare Kendry, marries a bigoted white man. Clare re-enters Irene's life after an absence of many years, and stirs up painful questions about identity. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett) (3 hr 29 min)

Chapters

Part 1, Chapter 1 7:24 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 1, Chapter 2 41:08 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 1, Chapter 3 28:56 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 1, Chapter 4 3:30 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 2, Chapter 1 22:22 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 2, Chapter 2 25:07 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 2, Chapter 3 9:25 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 2, Chapter 4 6:12 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 3, Chapter 1 24:20 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 3, Chapter 2 6:55 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 3, Chapter 3 6:51 Read by Elizabeth Klett
Part 3, Chapter 4 27:37 Read by Elizabeth Klett

Reviews

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(4 stars)

Larsen's vivid, well crafted characterizations and Klett's flawless delivery made this quite the page turner. absorbingly well done. 👍

A disturbing look back in time


(5 stars)

This story is certainly about race, but it also seems to be about fitting in. The women in this story both seem to be able to "pass" as white if they wish. One chooses to do so and the other does not (well at least I think she doesn't.) I was a bit confused as to whether Irene was at times trying to pass, but Clare for sure was. Clare; however, misses the other part of her heritage, thus her reason for wanting to keep seeing Irene. I cannot identify with the women on the racial aspect, but I can certainly understand the part about fitting in. Often I thought both of these women were rather snobbish and it was hard to really like either of them. Toward the end I could really sympathize with Irene because of her suspicions about Clare and her philandering. The story does not have a real clear end but it certainly makes you think when it is over. Elizabeth Klett narrates and does a wonderful job. I think I would be curious to hear the opinion from a person of color on what they thought of this story. It is sad that racial discrimination is part of our history and still exists even today. I think though that there will always be that fear of whatever is different whether it is race, religion, age, sex, etc. My only hope is that people will learn that judging a person by their appearance is not very wise.

Race is the hook, but Passing is about so much more...


(5 stars)

Nella Larson shook down not only race issues in Passing. Irene does her own passing with her marriage. For Irene it is all about class and she clings so hard to her husband and children out of fear. Fear that she would be nothing. She projects all ill feelings about herself onto Clare. Eventually the fear drives her over the edge. The window into Irene's mind, compounded by supremely written dialogue, kept me riveted. This is a fabulous read and serves history in a truthful way. It is a shame that Nella Larson slipped out of the career of writing. Let's hope that during her years as a nurse she wrote more that will be unearthed some day.


(5 stars)

amazing i could relate so well to the young ladies as i am mixed jamaican and english i share a few of the same feelings on passing however i never would as that would be asking me to loose to much of myself and the ache for culture would grow to thick for me to bare! it highlights how to women can feel connected my their mixed heritage but also shows how very different the both feel about race.

An excellent story about race and relationships in 1920s Harlem.


(4 stars)

Prejudice both in the culture and in the race, passing, female friendships, and marital relationships are all presented in some depth, in the specific time and place, but relevant today. The second half seemed less consistent in it’s writing style, maybe too rushed. I wanted to know more at the end. The narrator Elizabeth Klett was, per usual, excellent.

superb writing


(5 stars)

and equally superb narration. A glimpse into the consequences of choices some black Americans made in the 1920s to pass as white. Also a window into the Harlem NY society of the same era. Meticulously drawn characters brought to life by EK


(5 stars)

wonderful work that deserves to be better known. the story isnt only about race. there are many kinds of "passing," and identity "passes" between different dimensions. many thanks to Eliz. Klett for this wonderful reading.


(3 stars)

I enjoyed the earlier parts of the book more focussed on passing, but then the point of the story seemed to change abruptly and the jealousy and ending felt hurried and out of place.