Frank's Reviews > Quicksand

Quicksand by Nella Larsen
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's review
Apr 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books-you-must-read

I thought this short novel was excellent! It is a superb study of a complicated and appealing woman, Helga Crane, who, like Larsen herself, is the product of a liaison between a black man and a white woman. The story is often very tragic - when Helga was young, her black father had left her and her white mother who remarried a white man. Helga basically had no identity. Her mother's brother had always been sympathetic to Helga but when Helga returned from teaching in a black college in the South, her Uncle's new wife wanted nothing to do with her - she didn't consider Helga to be their niece since Helga's father was black. The story goes on to chronicle Helga's experiences in the Harlem of the 1920s and then in Denmark where she visits her Danish aunt and family. Helga is never able to find what she is looking for. I read Larsen's other novel "Passing" a few months ago and as much as I liked that work, I believe "Quicksand" is even better and more thought-provoking. High recommendation.

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