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The Vanishing Half

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The Vanishing Half

September 2020

Brit Bennett’s THE VANISHING HALF has been solidly on bestseller lists since it came out in early June. And I see why. It’s about twin sisters who are born in the town of Mallard, Louisiana. The townspeople there are all light-skinned blacks who can pass as white. The town has prided itself on this tradition. The sisters leave town determined to strike off on their own instead of staying in a stifling place. When they depart, one marries a dark black man; the other marries white, and “passes.” And they have no contact for years. Through their children, a connection is made that will shake up both of their lives. It’s timely --- and smartly done.

When the book opens, one of the sisters, Desiree, is striding back into town with her “blueblack” daughter, Jude. The eight-year-old will be “standing out” in this town, and that is not a good thing. Tongues wag, wondering about Desiree’s husband and what happened to have them venturing back here. Meanwhile, Stella has spent her life “passing,” with her racial lines hidden. She has married her boss, who she followed to Boston and then onward to California. She lives a picture-perfect life, but is also afraid that at any moment the home that she has built will shatter if her “secret” comes out.

One sister is back where she came from and has built herself a new life and a new world. The other has done the same, but her days are not nearly as relaxed, especially when a black family moves into their secluded neighborhood --- a move that was denounced by many of the neighbors.

When the daughters of these women meet up, the story takes yet another turn. Is this the moment when Stella will admit to who she is? Or will she continue to bask in a world where she wonders each day if she really belongs?

Book groups, get THE VANISHING HALF on your lists. There’s a lot to discuss. Among the topics is the relationships that the women in this book have with the men in their lives…for better or for worse!

The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett

  • Publication Date: June 2, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • ISBN-10: 0525536299
  • ISBN-13: 9780525536291