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AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA Book Club Pick
Dialogue's super lead for 2020. From the author of the New York Times bestseller THE MOTHERS, a powerful new novel about the parallel lives of estranged twin sisters who 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' story lines intersect?
Author: Brit Bennett
Paperback Published May 2021 352 pages
Originally published June 2020
Read and Recommended by Hendri:
"Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half is a magical gift that successfully blesses us with a more nuanced understanding of race, identity, and gender issues in the contemporary moment. It follows the life of the light-skinned African-American twins, Stella and Desiree, whose different personalities leading them to a diverging path in life. After running away together from their hometown, Stella, who was at first unsure about their escape plan, unexpectedly found her immediate courage and continued her escape by passing as 'white,' leaving her older sister alone without saying goodbye. At the same time, staying black, Desiree continued to struggle with her life alone with an unsuccessful marriage, while continuing to find Stella, who had eventually married a white man and leave the past behind. As the story unfolds, the past never lasts, and it continues to haunt them, revealing the-always-incomplete self-understanding that each has safely embraced now. In other words, one is meaningless without the other one. The haunting and the longing to find the other half extends to their daughters, Jude and Kennedy, who also led an entirely different life because of their racial identities. As Jude struggled to make ends meet, Kennedy was an aspiring actress who felt as if the world is always in her hands. Until one day, they both unexpectedly met, with long-time buried envy and jealously threatening to tear these two lost cousins apart. Making the story more relevant to our contemporary moment is the relationship between Jude and Reese, a black transman.
Beautifully crafted and elegantly structured, each chapter always adds another layer to every character, breathing more life to them and genuinely show that too often, the decisions we make in life are not fully in our control. Lastly, this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year; I am now officially a fan of Bennett and will definitely read her first novel, The Mothers, too!"
'Bennett allows her characters to follow their worst impulses, and she handles provocative issues with intelligence, empathy and dark humour.' -New York Times
'A writer to watch.' -Washington Post
'A beautifully written, sad and lingering book.' -Guardian on THE MOTHERS