From the publisher: "Published in 1928, Nella Larsen's first novel regards the story of Helga Crane, the lovely and refined mixed-race daughter of a Danish mother and a West Indian black father. The character is loosely based on Larsen's own experiences and deals with the character's struggle for racial and sexual identity, a theme common to Larsen's work. Larsen's work has been lauded for its exploration of race, gender, class, and sexuality amongst African Americans in early part of the 20th century. Now considered as a major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Larsen's writing gives a firsthand insight into the struggle of African Americans during this era."
Helga Crane yearns to become more than she is and to feel the world more intensely. She consequently dismisses her native Chicago, New York’s Harlem, Copenhagen even. She also passes on opportunities for extended family, for marriage, and for true love. What is always latent in this truly outstanding work; is how much the background of 1920’s American racial segregation defines Helga’s malaise, and how much – paradoxically – is of her own doing… The title of this novel is tragically fitting: living in a country with so much unresolved tensions, so much injustice and hypocrisy and violence could very well feel like walking in quicksand.