The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half

eBook - 2020
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Penguin Putnam

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick 

&;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.

Baker & Taylor
Separated by their embrace of different racial identities, two mixed-race identical twins reevaluate their choices as one raises a black daughter in their southern hometown while the other passes for white with a husband who is unaware of her heritage.

Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2020
ISBN: 9780525536970
0525536973
Characteristics: 1 online resource (343 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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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 identiti... Read More »


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g
graciatrejo
Mar 03, 2021

Bennet was able to capture the intensity of carrying an unwanted inheritance, the impact this has on people's lives, and how they deal with the same issue in a different way. And he points out that all humans have a secret that makes us act as we act, hence the importance of not judging others without seeing that we carry ourselves. A very good reading!
Bennet supo capturar lo intenso de cargar con una herencia no deseada, el impacto que esto tiene en la vida de las personas, y como estas lidian con el mismo asunto de diferente forma. Y nos señala que todos los humanos tenemos un secreto que nos hacer actuar como actuamos, por eso la importancia de no juzgar a los demás sin ver que cargamos nosotros mismos. Una excelente lectura!

e
esrobbins
Feb 26, 2021

Another thought provoking read from Bennett. She beautifully captures how life, and the choices you have in life, are different based on your skin color- not just in the 1960’s but in present day too. Bennett did a wonderful job addressing what we give up (and what we get) by the choices we make in our life. This book will stick with me for awhile.

c
Clenor2013
Feb 24, 2021

Interesting premise, but fell into HBO miniseries tropes. Would only recommend as a paperback purchase in the airport before a long flight.

j
Jperry291
Feb 17, 2021

I related to this book on many levels. I am an African American with a sister who looked very different than me, although we were "Irish twins" born one year apart. African Americans come in many shades of brown including white chocolate. In many homes of color including Latinx, this is a topic discussed often. This is a good story and well told.

s
StoicBookaholic
Feb 06, 2021

HBO and Brit Bennett made a 7 figure deal for the adaptation of the book into limited series.
It is a complex novel that easily could have been 2 or 3 novels, but not complicated to follow.

s
SC_bookworm_0
Feb 02, 2021

I wouldn't be surprised to see this book being taught in schools as part of the English curriculum in a few years or so. Bennett is a strong writer, and her book will definitely spark meaningful discussions among students. The story of the Vignes twins is embedded in colorism and race, but Bennet simultaneously comments on other heavy topics such as motherhood, domestic violence, loneliness, identity, and the struggles of being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Aside from this novel being really thought-provoking and important during this time, the story of the twins and their family was captivating from start to finish- the characters were complex and fun to read, and the plot was gripping. I would totally recommend this to anyone and everyone!

t
thereaderforlife
Feb 02, 2021

A very quick read which kept my interest right from the start. This is a story about the importance of being yourself and the unhappiness that can follow when you're not true to this. Of course, it is not always that simple and that is the underlying current here. The author writes about identical twin sisters who take different paths in life; not always by choice. The subject matter includes societal issues such as race and gender which allows the author to develop the characters and make them believable. I would recommend this book to friends. Another indicator of a decent read is when I place a hold on the author's other novels. Done.

d
Dee_BPL
Feb 01, 2021

I very highly recommend this book! Not only does it tackle racial and gender identity issues, it is also a unique story about family, relationships, and the consequences of our choices in life.

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

THE VANISHING HALF is a difficult book for me to rate. It’s an engrossing, ambitious novel that tackles many hot-button topics. Set mostly in the 1960s-1980s America, this generational drama plays out against the backdrop of key events from this period (the Civil Rights Movement, the King/Kennedy Assassinations, and the AIDS Epidemic). It’s easy to see why so many book groups are discussing it. But the more I got into it, I wondered whether author Brit Bennett took on too much (racism, colorism, domestic violence, lynching, transgender issues, class, etc.), leaving little depth. I enjoyed the thoughtful exploration of identity and mother-daughter / sister relationships, especially in the first half when the story focused on identical twins, Desiree and Stella. Though as the plot progressed, it took on a soap opera quality with dramatic reunions and contrived coincidences appealing to some readers, but not me. While I found many interesting quotes in Brit Bennett’s writing (see Quotes), ultimately, for me, THE VANISHING HALF didn't quite live up to its hype.

b
Bookworm1136
Jan 30, 2021

4 1/2 star. I really enjoyed this book. In Mallard, Louisiana, twin girls live in the town established for light black people. Stella and Desiree Vignes see their father lynched by white men. When they are teens, they disappear from Mallard and reappear in New Orleans. One decides to live her life as a white woman and lives a very different life than her twin, who marries a black man who brutalizes her and she flees with her black daughter. Years later, the two young cousins meet and discover the long kept family secrets. A very interesting and thoughtful book.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“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.” - p. 336

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“…an assassination is when someone kills you to make a point.
Which was correct enough,…but only if you were an important man. Important men became martyrs, unimportant ones victims. The important men were televised funerals, public days of mourning. Their deaths inspired the creation of art and the destruction of cities. But important men were killed to make the point that they were unimportant—that they were not even men—and the world continued on.” - pp. 178-179

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“She hadn't realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.” - p.169

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“Skin tissue and muscles and nerves, bone and blood. A body could be labeled but a person couldn’t, and the difference between the two depended on that muscle in your chest. That beloved organ, not sentient, not aware, not feeling, just pumping along, keeping you alive.” - p. 131

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“In the dark, you could never be too black. In the dark, everyone was the same color.” - p. 107

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“As they grew, they no longer seemed like one body split in two, but two bodies poured into one, each pulling it her own way.” - p. 36

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“White folks kill you if you want too much, kill you if you want too little.” - p. 35

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“Sometimes who you were came down to the small things.” - p. 22

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“A town always looked different once you'd returned, like a house where all the furniture had shifted three inches. You wouldn't mistake it for a stranger's house but you'd keeping banging your shins on the table corners.” - p.15

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

“The only difference between lying and acting was whether your audience was in on it, but it was all a performance just the same.” - p. 13

Summary

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w
Weezie5431
Feb 20, 2021

Black twin sisters run away at 16. Ten years later, one twin lives with mother in hometow , other passes for white and living comfortable life. 343 p

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