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The Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,6911534,093 (4.1)182
"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"--… (more)
  1. 20
    Passing by Nella Larsen (bhowell)
    bhowell: Passing by Nella Larsen is classic literature and a look at the same issue early in the 20th century
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» See also 182 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
It's only from reading Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, that I begin to understand the motivation of the "vanishing half." ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Oct 24, 2021 |
The story was ok - twins whose life stories took very different paths - but the whole premise of the story bothered me on several levels. Perhaps it is because I am not the target audience of this novel. I would think that someone who is African American would find the idea of a settlement who only wants light colored people in it offensive, but perhaps I am missing something. I can see the deeper meanings in the book, the explorations of what outside appearances really mean and how they can affect the groups we identity with. I found it hard to get past the discrimination part of the book. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Oct 22, 2021 |
I knew this book was popular but I had no idea if I would like it because it's very different from the other books I've been reading lately but I totally loved this.

This is one of those books where it's hard for me to describe why I liked this so much. I was telling my mom she should read this book and she asked me what I liked about it and I just didn't know what to say. All I know is I sat down to start reading this and read for three and a half hours straight. This was so readable and I just wanted to keep reading. The character work was very well done and I loved how the different time lines were woven together. I don't always like multiple time lines in books but in this book it really helped to further illustrate the family connection central to this story.

I loved reading about the characters in this book. They definitely aren't always likable but they were always interesting to read. I always wanted to know what the other characters were doing while reading about one character. I became so curious about these characters and what was driving them. The side characters were also excellent. I loved Reese and Early, but especially Reese. I thought they added so much to the main characters' stories and made them feel very real. Also, the University of Minnesota makes an appearance in this book, which was fun for me because that's my university! That was fun for me personally.

I definitely want to go back and read [b:The Mothers|28815371|The Mothers|Brit Bennett|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1460652458l/28815371._SY75_.jpg|49031394] and I will absolutely read anything new this author puts out. I'm glad so many people are reading this and enjoying it because I know I got a lot out of this. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Twin sisters Stella and Desiree Vignes are born in the very small town of Mallard Louisiana in the late 1940s. The special thing about Mallard is that it was settled by former slaves who successfully intermarried with white folks to the point that traces of their black ancestors are erased.
Teenagers Stella and Desiree run away from home and settle in New Orleans where they take on menial jobs to survive. Eventually Stella disappears, Desiree marries a black man, has a daughter Jude and runs back to Mallard when her husband physically abuses her.
The first part of the story is interesting but the rest becomes a soap opera as Stella marries wealthy Blake Saunders, hides her family history from him and her daughter Kennedy. Desiree ekes out a relatively happy existence in Mallard and enjoys her life. Jude heads off to college, along the way she meets Reese who is transitioning from a female. They maintain a loving relationship and seem happy. Of course, Jude and Kennedy run into each other at several points in the story and Jude reveals the Vignes sisters history.
If you like this type of dynamic then you will enjoy this story. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Oct 7, 2021 |
Twins look white although they are considered black born in a small town of Louisiana. On August 14, 1954, they vanished as young girls going in two different directions, leaving their mother behind. They wanted a different life and that's what they got and while we probably would expect them to stay close, they were in two separate worlds.

The author gives us a glimpse of what it's like being born with light skin as a black person with two versions and how it affected their mother. It's very well written and one of my favorites of the year. ( )
  Jacsun | Oct 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
The Vanishing Half is the fairy tale we need right now to tell us the truth....

All of these events unfold with the inevitability of a folktale or a fable — which is how The Vanishing Half, with its many folklorish narrative extravagances, reads. This book is not interested in literary realism. It is a fairy tale, and it makes no apologies for being so....But within its fairy-tale structure, The Vanishing Half is able to be ambitious with its characters. ...Reading The Vanishing Half at this moment in time, as America protests against the police killings of black people and the police respond with brutality, feels like reading a parable that is wiser and more beautiful than we deserve. One that is built around all the secrets buried in the rotten core of America’s racial history.

There is deep truth within fairy tales. And with The Vanishing Half, Bennett has written a marvel of one.
 
A new novel explores the construct of race in the diverging lives of light-skinned black twins, one of whom transitions into a life as a white woman....Issues of privilege, intergenerational trauma, the randomness and unfairness of it all, are teased apart in all their complexity, within a story that also touches on universal themes of love, identity and belonging.

“The Vanishing Half,” with its clever premise and strongly developed characters, is unputdownable.
 
Race is much on America’s mind now, in all the myriad ways it shapes our lives, whatever color our skin might be. It also lies at the heart of Brit Bennett’s moving and insightful new novel, The Vanishing Half, the story of twin sisters who choose to live their lives as different races, one black, one white....The Vanishing Half is skillfully structured and filled with richly developed characters who defy stereotypes. By turns poignant and funny, it’s a timely look at the dual nature of race — an abstract construct, a visceral reality — and the damage that racism can inflict.
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brit Bennettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bogdan, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my family
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The morning one of the lost twins returned to Mallard, Lou LeBon ran to the diner to break the news, and even now, many years later, everyone remembers the shock of sweaty Lou pushing through the glass doors, chest heaving, neckline darkened with his own effort.
Quotations
The hardest part about becoming someone else was deciding to. The rest was only logistics.
She had rung the bell, and all her life, the note would hang in the air.
Like leaving, the hardest part of returning was deciding to.
Her death hit in waves. Not a flood, but water lapping steadily at her ankles.

You could drown in two inches of water. Maybe grief was the same.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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"--

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