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The Vanishing Half

By Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett digital book - Fable

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Publisher 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.

6784 Reviews

4.0
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Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersDescriptive writingOriginal writingThought-provokingAbuseBigotryRacismTransphobiaUnsatisfying plot
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersEasy to readAddictiveRealistic settingThought-provokingRacismViolence
“Exquisite writing throughout this compulsive read. Lit up parts of history I’d never considered in full as a mixed race woman myself. I found the concept of a light skinned town fascinating, along with the idea of “passing”. If you take the title, you could see this book as an exploration of identity, self, and the parts of us that we lose or ultimately transform. I adored the character of Reese – a trans man who was just accepted. It was hard reading about the brutality of a rather vivid lynching but important in context when we consider the violence against members of the Black community even today. A sticky story spanning the mid-century to 90s. Some characters more believable than others but all growth resolved in a somewhat satisfying conclusion.”
Characters change and growDiverse charactersDescriptive writingAddictiveTwistyComing of ageThought-provokingRacismViolence

About Brit Bennett

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, The Mothers, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for both the NBCC John Leonard First Novel Prize and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Her second novel, The Vanishing Half, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, longlisted for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Women’s Prize, and named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. Bennet has been named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, a NAACP Image Award Finalist, and one of Time’s Next 100 Influential People. Her essays have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.

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