The Vanishing Half - Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half

By Brit Bennett

  • Release Date: 2020-06-02
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4
4
From 5,174 Ratings

Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * PEOPLE * TIME MAGAZINE* VANITY FAIR * GLAMOUR 


2021 WOMEN'S PRIZE FINALIST


“Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” —Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal 

A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it's an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it's piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” – Entertainment Weekly


From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Reviews

  • Fast read

    4
    By LC11
    Page turner from beginning. Fast read.
  • Well told tale of race

    4
    By BradPDX
    Whiteness pervades this story of 2 separated sisters who choose different paths. The social implications are not touched, only hinted, and are left to the reader to contemplate. A very personal story.
  • Yes

    5
    By kkbanks
    One of the most intriguing books I have ever read.
  • Lived up to expectations

    5
    By Still Beautiful at 60
    I did wish that the search for Stella would have ended earlier, needed to move on. Once it did I loved how the twins lives were so dramatically different. Poverty over white privilege.
  • The Vanishing Half

    1
    By Tangipahoa
    This is a slow, meandering read. It was a book club selection of mine. If not, I would have put it down after a hundred or so pages. What I liked? It is an interesting proposition, light skinned twin girls who abandon their family and home town seeking a better life. Then Stella, one of the twins abandons her sister Desiree, as if into thin air, to marry and “pass” as white. Secrets compound upon secrets in this novel, but in a burdensome way, not in a way that drives the narrative or maintains interest. The writing style neither inspires nor delights. The story of Reese and Jude? It seems contrived and strained. And we are to believe that Stella remained an emotional and historical blank to her husband their entire marriage? Marriage is about emotional intimacy and sharing.
  • Great Read

    5
    By only1 2K
    About 3 decades of life between 4 women. I love how the author displayed the story line.
  • A fractal story line

    5
    By Kvetchnik
    I enjoyed the book on several levels! The story was captivating; I learned something about another culture; and I was fascinated by the author’s ability to create echoes of the same theme, throughout the book. It seemed that every character had a “vanishing half.” Unlike some of the other reviewers, I felt the ending was perfect. I especially liked the last line, which somehow completed/satisfied something in me. Beautifully structured!
  • Disappointed

    3
    By Jwil'smom
    The first half of the book was enthralling. Strong character and plot development but by the second half I was forcing myself to read this book. I no longer cared about the characters because “the secret” seemed to have little direct bearing on their life choices and the author never supplied evidence to make me wonder whether it did. The ending was not one at all; as another commentator said it just “stopped.”
  • One Possible Hitch

    4
    By 44Sherlock44
    My husband is black and we were married in Los Angeles, California in the 1980’s. His birth certificate (issued in New York) and required to be produced for our marriage license, clearly states in the Color/Race section that he is negro and that both parents were negro. This may not have been, or be standard to birth certificates or a requirement for a marriage license in all states but it does add a possible hitch to certain aspects of the story.
  • Good not grear

    3
    By Whitneyaggie
    Abrupt ending. I don’t feel like any of the storylines were wrapped up. The book just kind of stopped.