Helga Crane, the protagonist of Quicksand is never happy in one place for long. Through her eyes the reader gets to experience life as a light-skinned African-American in the south, Chicago, Harlem during the Renaissance, Europe, and then the south again. Although the book takes place mostly in Crane's 20s, I see it as something of a coming-of-age novel.
I related to Crane's constant dissatisfaction and somewhat distant relationship with her life, as evidenced by sentiments like this one: "For the preacher, her husband, she had a feeling of gratitude amounting almost to sin. Beyond that, she thought of him not at all." p.149
And who doesn't love the occasional slam against religion? "Her mind, swaying back to the protection that religion had afforded her, almost she wished that it had not failed her. An illusion. Yes. But better, far better, than this terrible reality. Religion had, after all, its uses.It blunted the perceptions. Robbed life of its crudest truths. Especially it had its uses for the poor--and the blacks." p.159 and "And this, Helga decided, was what ailed the whole Negro race in America, this fatuous belief in the white man's God, this childlike trust in full compensation for all woes and privations in 'kingdom come.'" p.160