Passing by Nella Larsen
Written in the late 1920s, Passing focuses on the surprise meeting of two grown women, who run into each other after not seeing each other since their teenage years. One woman stayed in her community, married a darker skinned man, had children and is in the midst of leading a happy life. The other woman, through life circumstances, ends up passing as a white woman, marries a white racist, and has children. One "passes" as a white woman, with none of her new family or friends knowing her true background. The other is an integral part of black Harlem.
This novella is excellent. While other authors might have spent a great amount of time focusing on the women's childhoods together, it is passed over in a matter of a few pages. While Larsen could have drawn out elaborate scenes at a social gathering, Larsen gets to the meaty conversation that really matters. Because of this, this shorter story goes straight to the matter: What happens when there are secrets, emotions, statuses to hide?