By Nava Atlas | On | Comments (0)
Quicksand is a 1928 novel by Nella Larsen (1891 – 1964) based on the author’s personal experiences with what was called “the color line.” This sensitive novel came just one year before her masterwork, the 1929 short novel Passing.
Helga Crane, the main character, is the mixed-race daughter of a white Danish mother and a black father, as Larsen was. The plot takes her back and forth from Denmark, “Naxos” (a thinly veiled version of the Tuskegee Institute, where Larsen worked briefly), and Harlem. Wherever Helga goes, she fails to find a community in which she can be comfortable with who she is.
Nella Larsen’s fictional young women of mixed race — in this book and in Passing — grapple for a sense of identity and belonging, mirroring her own life. Following is a selection of quotes from Quicksand and other works from The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen, by a respected author associated with The Harlem Renaissance. Read More→