October Books 4) The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, by James Weldon Johnson
Despite the title, this is actually a novel whose unnamed narrator, a light-skinned African-American of the late 19th/ early 20th century, undergoes various travails including whether to abandon his career as a (black) musician and settle down for a dull life in the (white) middle class. I see Wikipedia suggesting that the author intended it as an ironic reflection on the first-person narratives of the day, so I guess I may not have the full context. It didn't really work for me as a novel; too many incidents which though interesting in their own right didn't really add up to a narrative structure. The anonymity of the narrator distanced me further from the story. Still, it's short.