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."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2020.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780525536291
Branch Call Number: FIC BENNETT, BRIT
Characteristics: 343 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 18, 2021

I really enjoyed this book, it’s characters and the import of the stories woven. My take is that Brit Bennet was able to show a depth of insight into a character , in some instances, with just a few words or a specific example. She is dealing with complex issues; and personally, I felt she did brilliantly. I was drawn in and fully enjoyed all the place, time and character she wove us through.

Jan 16, 2021

I have been lucky so far this month, every book I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed, this book is no exception. It was told in an entertaining way, weaving characters and time in a way that made you want to keep reading. I was also relatively happy with the queer/trans representation in this novel. Set in a time where transgender characters could have faced brutality and excessive hate the author instead told a calm and nurturing story of love between two people who had spent much of their life feeling out of their own bodies.

Jan 06, 2021

Laurie recommendation.

Jan 04, 2021

An interesting read. Tightly written. Not a fave. I prefer more action - less character study.

Jan 02, 2021

Review in The Week

Dec 20, 2020

I don’t have a lot of words for this work of fiction that dives deeply into touchy subjects about race, gender, identity, as well as a few other lesser topics.

As it is, there is so much going on in this book. Not in an overwhelming way, but in a “how will it all connect?” way. And it does connect. Yet, the author is spare in her impeccable writing and careful not to create a spectacle of the connections. She calmly and subtly unites these characters, tentatively tethered to one another.

While I found it hard to put down while drawn into the lives of these familial connected strangers, I was also left with some questions that weren't answered. Most likely, the intent of the author and have naught to do with the larger scope of the story. Simply, little details that my forever swirling mind focuses on.

The ending was congruent with the gentle pace of the preceding chapters and complimented the author’s precise, yet sensitive story telling. Honestly, this was the story I’ve been wanting to read among the wave of agenda-laced fiction from #ownvoice authors. Those questions I mentioned above? There are no simple answers.

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.

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