The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing HalfFrom 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 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 S To The S, Brit Bennett Produces A Story That Is At Once A Riveting, Emotional Family Story And A Brilliant Exploration Of The American History Of PassingLooking 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 OriginsAs 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 There were many ways to be alienated from someone, few to actually belong.i know it looks like i m over here five starring a lot of books in a row all of a sudden, but it s not so much that i ve lucked into a run of excellent reading choices as it is me finally sitting down to review books so good it s been intimidating me to even think about reviewing them ALTHOUGH if we re being super duper honest, Blacktop Wasteland and Betty were both 4s going in but 4.5s in my heart that got bumped up to fives when rereading them for the review made me remember how dingdang good they were this one was a five out of the gate it s so good i don t even know where to start it s a family saga that takes place over the course of forty or so years, beginning in 1938 with the birth of twin sisters stella and desiree vignes in the town of mallard, louisiana a black community with an unusual beginning The idea arrived to Alphonse Decuir in 1848, as he stood in the sugarcane fields he d inherited from the father who d once owned him The father now dead, the now freed son wished to build something on those acres of land that would last for centuries to come A town for men like him, who would never be accepted as white but refused to be treated like Negroes A third place.the residents embraced their founder s dream of a perfect Negro Each generation lighter than the one before, and by the time the vignes girls his great great great granddaughters are born, his bloodline has been bleached into creamy skin, hazel eyes, and wavy hair, none of which attributes protect them from racism from seeing their father lynched in their home when they are little girls, or from race factoring into their lives and shaping their opportunities when they run away from home as teenagers they live together in new orleans for a few years before stella abruptly cuts ties with her sister and disappears into a new life that she will live as a white woman marrying a wealthy white man and raising a daughter who has no idea she s anything but white meanwhile, desiree will leave the abusive father of her own daughter and move back to mallard, her child s exceptional darkness there unexpected, unwelcome eventually, three generations of paths will cross, secrets will be discovered, everyone ll have to address their choices honestly, i don t want to blah and blah about plot i always spend way too much time on silly reviews, writing 20 page dissertations on minutiae that nobody cares about but meeeee before deleting all of it anyway and i need to stop being foolish with my time and learn to do things in miniaturized efficiency when i m not getting paid but i will say that this is a tremendous second novel after a really impressive debut and bennett writes beautifully about family and grief and identity and being deeply, unbearably lonely the loneliness of the estranged twins, the self othering loneliness isolating stella from her old life and in her new one, the loneliness of growing up dark in a colorstruck town etc etc i m doing it again so i m gonna shut myself up now because i loved every little bit of this novel and we could be here all day if i don t put a stop to it now The Mothers was good, this one is to come ASAP my SECOND goodreads win of 2020 this is the only good thing in the world right now.come to my blog This is a thought provoking story and a few scenes were not easy to read There s racism here, a violent incident against a man, witnessed by his young twin daughters, and trauma for one of the girls than we want to imagine This and their upbringing in a small black community in Louisiana where people believe the lighter they are the better life will be So it wasn t a surprise that when twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes run away at sixteen, that their futures would take them on journeys seeking their identities Although inseparable as young girls, they part ways and their chosen lives take very different paths While it s easy to connect with Desiree and the choices she makes, it s not very easy to accept how Stella has chosen to live a lie and was most of the time unlikable Yet, I was still drawn to her and felt for her, trying to understand her .While racial identity is the core of the story, there are so many other layers here with characters that the author portrays in such a way that I got a sense of who they were, even if at times they questioned their own identities The story is told from multiple points of view the sisters Desiree and Stella and later their daughters, Jude and Kennedy, each of them searching it seemed, to find their true selves It s about different kinds of relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, women and the men in their lives, cousins who find each other There are other elements to the story such as spousal abuse and sexual identity Almost all of the characters found a way to my heart I found this to be such a well written story that captivated me from the first page and made me want to get to Britt Bennett s debut novel The Mothers, which has been on my list.As always I m grateful to read along with Diane and Esil I love our discussions and sharing our perspectives I received an advanced copy of this book from Riverhead Penguin through EdelweissZ So well written and so interesting I ve never read anything by Britt Bennett but this won t be my last The story focuses on twin sisters, Desiree and Stella, and their daughters, Jude and Kennedy The twins come from Mallard, Louisiana, where having light skin is greatly valued The twins skin is light enough that Stella decides to pass as white and disappears from Desiree s life in the late 1960s when they are in their early 20s The story then moves back and forth in time and from the different characters perspectives Bennett s writing is lovely, making the read smooth and engaging The structure of the story is original And the story and characters kept me interested and curious from beginning to end Can t ask for anything better in a novel especially at a time when I find it challenging to find novels that keep my attention This was a buddy read with Angela and Diane it made for interesting discussion and I suspect this one would be a great book club read Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for an advance copy. From the Jim Crow south to the wealthy environment of Brentwood, the story follows two twin sisters as they travel different paths A small town called Mallard that is not found on any map, known for their light skinned negroes Not seeing much of a future, when the twins turn sixteen they take off for the big city of New Orleans From there their lives will diverge and their relationship will never be the same.Identity, decisions, fate and prejudice are the main themes explored within How is identify formed and what will one do to hang on to the one they have decided to make their own I loved Desiree, she is loyal, committed, her daughter Jude, dark skinned will have much to overcome I loved her strength.Stella, the other twin will live her life behind a heavy secret she carries and her daughter Kennedy will suffer with the fact that she never really knew her mother A very well written story, with very defined and different characters I admit to liking Desiree s and Jude s story the best I think I could understand their motivation Still, four strong women, who make their own way through life despite the obstacles strewn in their path As always reading with Angela and Esil, make these reads special Although we agreed on much, I think we favored different characters.ARC from Edelweiss. I was not a fan of The Mothers so I was a little hesitant about picking up The Vanishing Half, but y all Y ALL It is everything E v e r y THING Well developed characters, well thought out story lines, unpredictable There s nothing I didn t love about this book Brit Bennett knocked it out of the ballpark with this one And a movie Please, please, please let Oprah, Ava DuVernay, somebody option this because yes This is my first Brit Bennett book that I have read, but will definitely not be my last Stella and Desiree are twins bought up in a close knit black community in Louisiana in the 1950 s They run away together at the age of 16, but one sister will leave the other behind after she accepts a job offer and takes the opportunity to pass herself of as white, whilst the other sister marries a black man and returns to her childhood home, where her daughter is an outcast for being so dark in a lighter skinned community.The story is told from the points of view of Desiree and Stella and their daughters we go back in time to when they run away to the present time Reading this book gave me much to think about, I couldn t imagine being bought up one way and then passing you re self of as white, having to lie to you re husband and child and forever worrying that you re secret will be revealed.A must read book that will capture you re heart and keep it long after reading it Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review. You were supposed to be safe in Mallard that strange, separate town hidden amongst your own But even here, where nobody married dark, you were still colored and that meant that white men could kill you for refusing to die The Vignes twins were reminders of this, tiny girls in funeral dresses who grew up without a daddy because white men decided it would be so The minute Brit Bennett s The Vanishing Half arrived at my doorstep, I tore it open immediately After nursing a headache on kombucha and Celer music for hours at a cafe, I d already leafed through the first hundred pages by night s end I was completely rapt by this heartbreaking story, one of identical twin sisters bell jarred in their all mulatto southern town of Mallard Then one night, they plot to flee Mallard forever its racial terrorism, its demeaning domestic work, and its blood soaked history an ever looming echo, an itch of who they ll always be until a fork in the road leads them down two life changing trajectories Fourteen years pass before the eldest sister, Desiree, returns home with a daughter darker than anyone in Mallard has ever seen, whereas Stella has betrayed her real life for one of whiteness Like the blood that binds them, their paths cross in unbelievable ways, leading up to a call to arms that will bring any reader to their knees.Abound with characters at the mercy of race, class, trauma, and identity, The Vanishing Half is a riveting, slow burning novel about the infinite ways one dreams of rewriting their life by erasing their past With it, Bennett has spun a tantalizing novel that is truly larger than itself, a love letter to Black people battling the eternal war of unconditional self love in the face of whiteness This was my first time reading Bennett, but it will not be my last Her approach to character development and storytelling is something masterful her landscapes as vast and vivid as the eye can see The range with which she challenges racism, self hatred, gender, identity, passing, and colorism, is so well done, so well considered and realized Front to back, this was an honorable, full bodied story an essential read the world has been waiting for Thank you, Riverhead Books friends, for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review If you liked my review, feel free to follow me parisperusing on Instagram. A masterpiece that deserves to be least twice In Brit Bennett s second novel The Vanishing Half we meet Stella and Desiree, twin sisters growing up in a black Southern community during the 1960s Desiree longs to leave the very close knit community at 16, this is her biggest dream but she will not leave without her sister Stella When Stella final agrees to take the plunge and run away, they do so and both sisters end up in New Orleans looking to start from scratch and start a new life.Things are harder then they thought, will little to no money one sister is forced to take a risk and the other is left wondering how things changed so fast In the end, one sister made a life passing for white and the other sister after a hard relationship returns to the community with her daughter in tow A generational tale that spans forty years and converges when the twin sister daughters , through fate meet Brit Bennett took her time to write such an intoxicating book I could not stay away from the book and I found myself walking around with it just to get brief moments to read I wanted to inhale the book but I also wanted to never end it was THAT good The storyline was strong and convincing you felt like you knew the characters and you become so attached to them and their lives The pacing kept you hooked and I had to remind myself to exhale because I just had to know exactly what happened I was a little nervous because of how the structure was many different voices and POVs but each was so unique and convincing and I could not get enough of it I know we are only in February 2020 but this is already a favorite for me I want everyone to read this book so we can gush about it together The Vanishing Half arrived at my doorstep over a week ago and I could not put it down I won it in Riverheads ownvoices giveaway Here is a story that picks at so many realistic situations that at times I had to disconnect from the story to not mix part of myself with it.The Vanishing Half tells a story of two twin sisters who live in a town called Mallard A town where only the fair skinned Blacks are allowed A town where the lightness of your complexion is acceptance but still not acceptable enough to white people We do have remember the 1960s Twin sisters Stella and Desire learn that their skin complexion is not their savor as they watch their father get brutally beaten and their mother be a maid towns over to a white family As the two runaway and split off, we learn of their lives unconnected and what it is to pass as white versus what it s like to run into the arms of the darkest Black men Bennett finds a way to connect these sisters through their children and tell a story of heartache, lies, identity, acceptance, class, race, and unconditional love wait until you met Reese and Jude I gravitated to the storyline so strongly because it was partly a reflection of myself Years of avoidance the struggle of dealing with my light complexion I have never identified as anything but Black Growing up I was picked on for being too light or was not considered Black enough because of how I spoke but at the same time, I saw siblings and cousins picked on for being too dark Bennett doesn t shy away from controversial topics and slowly gives voice to each character as shes able to give them each their own story but connect them like the puzzle you finally finished while in quarantine lol. I LOVED THIS BOOK It s December 18, 2019 but I guarantee it will make it to my top 5 list for next year This book gave me a sense of dread, because there were so many characters who could have terrible things happen to them, and yet I read it with hope And while Bennett breaks your heart and doesn t shy away from the sadness inherent in every one of these character s lives, she left me feeling better for having met all of them Each character s story unfolds so delicately and yet so deftly, and nothing resolved the way I expected it to and yet everything made perfect sense This book is so astonishingly accomplished, and sweeping, and yet so very intimate This is incredible And DAMN is the title so perfect.

[Reading] ➮ The Vanishing Half ➶ Brit Bennett –
  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • The Vanishing Half
  • Brit Bennett
  • 11 March 2019
  • 9780525536291