Passing

Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 4 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (360 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1929, Passing is a remarkable exploration of the shifting racial and sexual boundaries in America. Larsen, a premier writer of the Harlem Renaissance, captures the rewards and dangers faced by two Negro women who pass for White in a deeply segregated world.

©2008 Hadjii (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Passing

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

a solid read

I enjoyed the book. The ending was abrupt and anticlimactic, never the less, I would recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If not for the Ending

America of the 1920s did not allow for much social mobility between races, and so the choices left to African-Americans were filled with compromises. One such compromise is having to pass as a white person, which causes a definite and permanent rift with former associates. Any contact with those former associates would be a clear sign that there is something not above board.

With all of that being said, what this novel does is set a fairly interesting story of race relations against the more everyday concerns of a wife. The problem with that, however, is that it takes a character who seems like a rational actor and turns her into a jealous woman who commits murder to protect her marriage. The problem is that this jealousy is based purely on suspicion, which undermines her further as a rational actor. Of course, the fact that the story just ends leaves too many questions and motives unanswered and unexamined. But if you are interested in questions of race and how people are motivated to move past set ideas of their race and character, then you would do well to examine this story.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great book

loved this book and cannot wait to see the film. cannot believe it was written in 1929. great, quick read.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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this sucked

this book really sucked.It ended too abruptly. I feel like I was cheated and want my time back..

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stellar Narration

I studied this book in a class years ago, and it always stuck with me. The narrator Robin Miles adds so much to the story by bringing to life the free indirect discourse of the protagonist and with her voice characterizations of the other characters, especially Clare and Brian. Such a fascinating study of 1920s American literature and the psychology of an upper class black woman in Harlem.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fairly edgy for the time it was written in.

This started out about passing as a white woman and what mischief that takes, and then ended somewhat abruptly, and under circumstances that made me forget this was about race at all. The narrator added enough nuance to the characters that I never questioned who was speaking as well.

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amzing!

intriguing, suspenseful. I was not a fan of the end because I wanted to know more about Irene

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Chapters are out of order

The chapters are out of order. When I checked chapter 10 it says chapter 4.

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Pretty Good.

The narrator did a pretty nice job. As far as the story, I found myself engaged and wanting to find out what happened, but at the end I discovered that I did not like any of the characters in the book. They all pretty much ticked me off. Also, I don't know that "Passing" is the right title. It might be, but I don't know if "Passing" is the main theme of the story. I was thinking maybe it should be called "Stupid". Without a particular character in the passage being very stupid, there is no story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good

I was impressed when I read Quicksand and was impressed again when reading Passing. Larsen does such a great job creating complex characters and talking about complicated themes. I did think the ending was kind of abrupt, though.