An Intimation of Things Distant

Charles R. Larson, Editor, Marita Golden, Foreword by, Larson, Author Anchor Books $10.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-42149-2
Larsen is an oft-overlooked black writer from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. These two short novels and three short stories reveal a voice from the past that addresses contemporary, timeless issues--from the politics of hair-straightening to the double handicap of being black and female in America. In the pointed ``Sanctuary,'' a woman's loyalty to her race proves stronger than anger and grief. Quicksand portrays a complex heroine, Helga Crane, who will not settle for a compromised way of life that many black women of the day would have embraced. She quits her rigid teaching job and eventually moves to Copenhagen; she refuses a marriage proposal from a famous, somewhat arrogant white artist. The end of the novel finds Helga trapped in domestic hell in the American South--the price for holding out for a more fulfilling existence. In Passing, Clare Kendry ``passes'' for white, fooling even her own racist husband. The story is seen through the eyes of Irene Redfield, an old friend of Clare's who does not approve of her friend's crossing over. Ultimately, and surprisingly, this becomes a powerful story about Irene's marriage. Here is Larsen's genius: her insightful, damning social commentary never overshadows her art. Larson wrote The Emergence of African Fiction. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next