NYC To Its Edges Book Club with Patrick & Ben

 
May 28th
6:30pm
 
McNally Jackson Downtown Brooklyn
RSVP Required - see below
 

Tired of a diluted and anonymized New York City in your books? Wish you could escape lower Manhattan/north Brooklyn continuum? Take a tour through 20th century NYC literature, poetry and nonfiction, and map out new (to you) neighborhoods and cultures, from the communists up in Harlem and out of City College during the Great Depression, to the meatheads roughhousing with one another in postwar Bay Ridge. We’ll see the city through new eyes; poets from Spain stop over, prolific writers from Austria recast the story of Job on Broome Street. If so inclined, perhaps we can hop over to Yonkers or Patterson as well. We’ll reacquaint ourselves with our city via the innumerable experiences therein!

This month we'll discuss Nella Larsen's powerful, thrilling, and tragic tale about the fluidity of racial identity that continues to resonate today, Passing.

“[Larsen’s novels] open up a whole world of experience and struggle that seemed to me, when I first read them years ago, absolutely absorbing, fascinating, and indispensable.”—Alice Walker

“It is a tragic story rooted in inescapable facts of American life: that whiteness conferred an almost universal unearned advantage, and that loyalty to a black racial identity was not only an act of pride but also one of courage.”
– The New York Times 


Irene Redfield is living an affluent, enviable life with her husband and children in the thriving African American enclave of Harlem in the 1920s. That is, until she runs into her childhood friend, Clare Kendry. Since they last saw each other, Clare, who is similarly light-skinned, has been “passing” for a white woman, married to a racist man who does not know about his wife’s real identity, which she has chosen to hide from the rest of the world. Irene is both fascinated and repulsed by Clare’s dangerous secret, and in turn, Clare yearns for Irene’s sense of ease and security with her Black identity and community, which Clare gave up in pursuit of a more advantageous life, and which she can never embrace again. As the two women grow close, Clare begins to insert herself and her deception into every part of Irene’s stable existence, and their complex reunion sets off a chain of events that dynamically alters both women forever.
 
In this psychologically gripping and chilling novel, Nella Larsen explores the blurriness of race, sacrifice, alienation, and desire that defined her own experience as a woman of mixed race, issues that still powerfully resonate today. Ultimately, Larsen forces us to consider whether we can ever truly choose who we are.


 

Reserve your place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the book club meeting on any product in store.

Price: $5.00