I heard about this novel some month back on NPR when they were doing a piece on a similar, but more recently published, biography titled Passing Strange: a gilded age tale of love and deception across the color line. Both books address the issue of individuals attempting to pass as another race. It later appeared on NPRs suggested reading list which I peruse periodically.

In Passing Strange, the author attempts the difficult job of piecing together a biography from letters and records in an effort to explain why a white man who worked for the US government passed as African American for 13 years. Nella Larsen's novel written 80 years before deals with the more commonplace occurrence of light-skinned African American passing for white for a variety of social or financial reasons.

The novel unfolds itself very simply by reuniting three female friends who went to school together but have lost touch after marrying and having children. Though each of these woman can pass for white, they have each decided to follow different courses in life. One marries a black doctor and lives her life as a black woman. The second marries a white man who is well aware that she is black but doesn't care. However, the third has found herself married to a rich white man who does not know about her heritage and is a bigot and a racist.

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