The Vanishing Half (Hardback)Brit Bennett (author)
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Spanning the 1950s to the 1990s and from the Deep South to California, Bennett’s stunning novel follows the journeys of two estranged twin sisters leading very different lives – to the extent of adopting different racial identities.
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2020
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year 2021
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?
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.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 588 g
Dimensions: 238 x 162 x 36 mm
‘The slightly fantastical premise and the coincidence-laden plot will have readers eagerly turning pages. Bennett uses these hooks to showcase complex, compassionate portraits of her four leading ladies. And what grants the novel real heft is the light touch employed for the (not so) historical details.’ - The Sunday Times
'Brit Bennett has learned a lot from Toni Morrison - the use of uncanny rural communities in the South/Midwest; twins/doppelgangers to explore the extreme edges of the American Dream; whip-smart dialogue - but her exquisite slowness and patience of tone are unique. A wonderful, cosseting read' - Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk
'The Vanishing Half does exactly what a great novel is meant to do. It fills you with questions, exposes you to realities you may never have thought of and of course keeps you up into the night reading. The characters in this book are so real, so warm and so very complicated. I loved every part of it, even when it was making me sad or angry. It's just such a beautiful story.' - Luan Goldie
'A powerful, tender family epic which reminds us directly and poignantly that things are not black and white.' - Louisa Young
'The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel. It seduces with its literary flair, surprises with its breath-taking plot twists, delights with its psychological insights, and challenges us to consider the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives. I absolutely loved this book.' - Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize
'An impressive and arresting novel. Perceptive in its insights and poised in execution, this is an important, timely examination of the impact of race on personality, experience and relationships.' - Diana Evans
'The Vanishing Half should mark the induction of Brit Bennett into the small group of likely successors to Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen. I read it torn between competing urges: I wanted to greedily turn the pages, yet I also wanted to savour every word, lingering as long as I could with the delicious feeling of being sunk so deep into the story that every time I set the book aside it felt like coming up for air. Compelling, compassionate and astonishingly good.' - Sara Collins
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“An emotional story”
I found this story to be both moving and ambitious. We will be introduced to identical twins, Desiree and Stella. When they turn sixteen everything will change. One will live as a black woman and the other as white.... More
“The Vanishing Half”
The Vanishing Half is a tantalising slow-burner of a novel, an intelligent exploration of race, class and identity.
The opening premise is a little flimsy, and it is only when the setting moves beyond the... More
“How much do we create our own identity and to what extent does the world define it for us?”
Two twins are born into the same set of circumstances, yet both attempt to escape them in very different ways.
Bennett winds us through a skilfully created plot as both are left questioning their own choices. Yet a... More
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