It was the last letter in Irene Redfield's little pile of morning mail. After her other ordinary and clearly directed letters the long envelope of thin Italian paper with its almost illegible scrawl seemed out of place and alien. And there was, too, something mysterious and slightly furtive about it. A thin sly thing which bore no return address to betray the sender. Not that she hadn't immediately known who its sender was. Some two years ago she had one very like it in outward appearance. Furtive, but in some peculiar, determined way a little flaunting. Purple ink. Foreign paper of extraordinary size.
by Nella Larsen
Here's another book that's been on my wish list for years. My reason for picking it up now? The podcast Novel Pairings - a podcast dedicated to "making the classics readable, relevant, and fun" - will discuss it on their next episode. An interesting feature of each podcast episode is the pairing of a classic with contemporary novels with similar themes. I have a feeling they'll be pairing Passing with Britt Bennett's new novel The Vanishing Half... which I plan to read shortly.
This classic from the Harlem Renaissance is described as "an electrifying story of two women who cross the color line in 1920s New York." I'm halfway through this short novel and wondering why I've waited so long.
What do you think? Would you continue reading?
First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intro is hosted by Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews.
Definitely sounds worth reading; thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Diane - It's really good so far.Delete
I have been eyeing this book, and now I want to pick it up and read! Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THE GOLDEN CAGE”ReplyDelete
Laurel-Rain Snow - Half way through and I think it's definitely worth reading.Delete
I hadn't heard about this book. It sounds so good.ReplyDelete
Yvonne - I learned about it from other bloggers, too.Delete
I would absolutely keep reading this one. I'm trying ("trying," being the key word here) to read more "classic" literature this year. But that's not in the sense of reading the recognized great classics, more just going back and finding books I've never heard of from the first half of the twentieth century. It's amazing what we miss by just chasing the new titles around every year.ReplyDelete
Sam - I feel the same way about classics, but this is only the second one I've read all year. Ended up finishing Passing and liked it enough to want to try Larsen's other novel.Delete
Sure definitely keep reading ... two women who want to cross the color line in 1920s New York .... sounds intriguing. I have not heard of this novel ! But now I know it. Seems good.ReplyDelete
Susan - This was a good, short read... and I felt virtuous finally picking up a classic again. ;-)Delete
OK, first of all, you listen to Novel Pairings? I love Chelsea and Curtis (He Read She Read), but haven't spent much time listen to NP. Of course, now I will. Chelsea is great! :)ReplyDelete
I've never heard of Passing or Nella Larsen, but Mrs. Dalloway (which I loved) came to mind as soon as I read that passage, so I'll have to request a copy of Passing from my library (which has thankfully begun curbside pickup, not that I really need to add any more books to my stacks...). Thanks for the inspiration!
Les - I've only listened to a few episodes of Novel Pairings and like it... though not quite as much as He Read, She Read. The episode featuring Passing dropped this week. I can listen to it now that I've finished the book.Delete
Didn't think of it at the time, but I just reread the opening and it does have a Mrs. Dalloway feel to it. I liked Passing enough to request Larsen's other short novel, Quicksand. Glad to hear your library is open for curbside service!
One of my reading groups just picked The Vanishing Half! I think I may have read Passing long ago but don't remember it well, so a reread is in order.ReplyDelete
Judy - I'll be reading The Vanishing Half shortly, too, and it does sound like the themes will be similar to Passing. Should be interesting to compare the two. I liked this book enough to request Larsen's autobiographical novel, Quicksand. It's also very short.Delete
That does sound very interesting! I haven't gotten into podcasts much, but that sounds like a great theme for one :) Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Becki - Podcasts cut down on my audiobook time, so I tend to listen in between books. I've found a few that are very good!Delete
This would be perfect for my book a day challenge!ReplyDelete
Stacy - Her first novel, Quicksand, is pretty short, too.Delete
That intro definitely makes me want to know more about the letter and what's going to happen next. Thank you for the link to Novel Pairings. I need to pick up more classics and this may be a great way to remember to add more classics to my current reads.ReplyDelete
Iliana - Passing was a good read! I'm starting to listen to more bookish podcasts, especially when I'm in between audiobooks. Novel Pairings is a good one. I really enjoyed the summer reading episode they released last week.Delete