The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half

Book - 2020
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"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. Ten 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"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2020.
ISBN: 9780525536291
Branch Call Number: BEN
Characteristics: 343 pages ;,24 cm


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Nov 26, 2020

As much as I found the back half of the story engaging, it was still a little bloated for me. That's my only gripe. Bennett has written a wonderful story. Deep character development and an inciteful take on human behaviour. Will add Mothers to my TBR

Nov 25, 2020

I read Bennett's The Mothers and thought it was good, but this is far better. It's the story of the Vignes twins Desiree and Stella, who leave their tiny Louisiana hometown at 16. Desiree returns but Stella, like Desiree a very light-skinned black woman, "passes" and disappears into a white life. Even more than the twins, this is the story of Desiree's daughter Jude, a character Bennett draws with incredible delicacy and depth. This is a story about a family, about what can and can't be forgiven, about racism and colorism, and most especially about identity and what is sacrificed in the search for it. This is a literary and layered book, but it's also immensely readable with a compelling what-happens-next urgency to it. Highly recommended.

JCLJenV Nov 16, 2020

A novel dealing with complicated feelings about race. The story in this book is the highlight and kept me engaged from start to finish. I highly recommend this novel.

JCLBrittanyC Nov 14, 2020

I have very mixed thoughts on this one. The Vanishing Half has been one of the top books of the year, but it just left me feeling meh. The plot is very striking and during the first few chapters left me very reminiscent of Where the Crawdads Sing. In The Vanishing Half, we have twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes who have run away from their small town home at 16 in search of a better life. Mallard the community they grow up in is made up of extremely light skinned black people. Meaning in many situation, unless known otherwise, members of the community could pass as white. When Stella ends up leaving Desiree in New Orleans, we learn that she begins to build a white life for herself. The two begin lead completely different lives until, unknowingly their worlds collide when their daughters (Jude and Kennedy) happen to meet in Los Angeles. I think this book had its winning plotlines, but everything kind of left me hanging and wanting more. I’d be interested in reviews from others, because I know many have loved it. I think how the separation of the twins effected each daughter spoken volumes to the type of women Jude and Kennedy became. I don’t know if this is a top read of 2020 for me, but I’m glad I read it, otherwise I would have always wondered. I will also be attended the online book group on 11/17 for this titles, so I’m excited to hear others thoughts.

IndyPL_LindsayH Nov 04, 2020

What is it like to shirk your identity? The Vanishing Half is about a town that tries it`s best to shirk it`s black identity. Small town Mallard, Louisiana is a tiny town that is full of black people that have a desire to preserve the light skinned nature of their citizens. Marrying someone darker than you is the worst thing you can do.

Desiree and Stella Vignes are identical twins that grow up with this mindset. They witness an unspeakable act of violence at a young age. This act and the mindset of Mallard greatly influence their upbringing. Their stories diverge in the midst of their adolescence and they go in different directions.

The Vanishing Half is an intriguing tale of how racial identity can influence your life and the lives of your offspring. It is a tour de force!

Oct 28, 2020

i can see why this book is a bestseller.
it made me reflect on self identity and 'otherness'.
what happens when you look just like someone else, but the other decides to pass as a different ethnicity?
what happens when how you were born doesn't match with how you feel internally?
it also reminded me of growing up with a mix of two cultures and being confronted with casual racism.

debwalker Oct 27, 2020

When your identical twin sister decides to "pass".....

Sep 30, 2020

Great character development, and I loved hearing from both sisters' perspectives as well as their daughters- it really added another layer to the story. This would be great for a book club!

Sep 17, 2020

I read The Mothers and really liked it and loved The Vanishing Half. This book is the perfect book club read. As a member of an African American book club the ladies in the group found so many themes and elements in the book that we were able to relate to. Discussion of colorism within the AA community, marrying for a more comfortable life or for love and estranged family relationships. The discussion went on and on and on. We even had teams, Team Stella and Team Desiree. What road would you choose? Brit Bennett is a local author who can create characters that jump off the pages and situations that keep the pages turning. If you can't find a copy of the book try it on audio, it's storytelling at its finest!

STPL_Kerry Sep 14, 2020

I loved 'The Mothers' and this new book by Brit Bennett definitely did not disappoint. Bennett has such a talent for story telling and creating characters that you really get invested in. Two sisters; two parallel lives that turn out so differently based on which fork in the road they take. Such a beautiful story about family and love and fate and creating your destiny. A must read.

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