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The Vanishing Half: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 350 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Praise for The Vanishing Half:
“[Bennett’s] second [book], The Vanishing Half, more than lives up to her early promise. . . more expansive yet also deeper, a multi-generational family saga that tackles prickly issues of racial identity and bigotry and conveys the corrosive effects of secrets and dissembling. It's also a great read that will transport you out of your current circumstances, whatever they are. . . Like The Mothers, this novel keeps you turning pages not just to find out what happens.” —NPR
“Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.”—The New York Times
“A story of absolute, universal timelessness — a story of what it means to simply be, to grow up and define oneself and reinvent, to negotiate a place in the world. It's also a deeply American story, rigorously engaged with a country's racist past and present, while interrogative of its foundational values, like choice and legacy. 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
“Beautifully written, thought-provoking and immersive… Issues of privilege, inter-generational trauma, the randomness and unfairness of it all, are teased apart in all their complexity, within a story that also touches on universal themes of love, identity and belonging… The Vanishing Half, with its clever premise and strongly developed characters, is unputdownable and highly recommended.” —Associated Press
“Bennett pulls it off brilliantly… Few novels manage to remain interesting from start to finish, even — maybe especially — the brilliant ones. But… Bennett locks readers in and never lets them go… Stunning…She leaves any weighty parallels — between, for example, racial and gender determinism — to the reader. Her restraint is the novel’s great strength, and it’s tougher than it looks… The Vanishing Half speaks ultimately of a universal vanishing. It concerns the half of everyone that disappears once we leave home — love or hate the place, love or hate ourselves.” —Los Angeles Times
“Provides a meditation on the nuance of race that feels important, now more than ever. It’s the kind of novel that demands to be read — a propulsive, heartfelt work that keeps its reader both glued to the page and chastened by the idea that soon the experience will come to an end. . . You can call The Vanishing Half an escape, but it’s a meaningful one.” —InStyle
"My hope is that the warranted praise Ms. Bennett receives for this novel will have less to do with her efficient handling of timely, or 'relevant,' subject matter than for her insights into the mysterious compound of what we call truth: a mixture of the identities we’re born with and those we create."—Wall Street Journal
“Reinvention and erasure are two sides of the same coin. Bennett asks us to consider the meaning of authenticity when we are faced with racism, colorism, sexism and homophobia. What price do we pay to be ourselves? How many of us choose to escape what is expected of us? And what happens to the other side of the equation, the side we leave behind? The Vanishing Half answers all these questions in this exquisite story of love, survival and triumph.” —The Washington Post
“A stunning page-turner… It’s a powerful story about family, compassion, identity and roots… You will be thinking about The Vanishing Half long after you turn the final page.” —Good Morning America
“Intricately plotted, exceedingly moving story…with insights into the social and cultural history of passing, while telling what is at heart a tender story about sisterhood, identity and, as Bennett said, 'the endlessly interesting question of which elements in our identity are innate, and which do we choose?'"—San Francisco Chronicle
“Breathtaking plot.” —People
"I don't think I've read a book that covers passing in the way that this one does . . epic." —Kiley Reid in O, the Oprah Magazine
“Here, in her sensitive, elegant prose, [Bennett] evokes both the strife of racism, and what it does to a person even if they can evade some of its elements.”—Vogue
“Bennett creates a striking portrait of racial identity in America.” —TIME
“Bennett writes like a master, reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Strout.” —BookPage
“This is sure to be one of 2020’s best and boldest… A tale of family, identity, race, history, and perception, Bennett’s next masterpiece is a triumph of character-driven narrative.” —Elle
“A marvel…The Vanishing Half is an intergenerational examination of identity, and what it’s like to grow up in a body you’ve been conditioned to feel ashamed of. It’s a poignant family story that doesn’t shy away from the intersections of race, class, and gender—all while capturing the reader’s heart and mind in a way only Bennett can.” —The Rumpus
"Irresistible ... an intergenerational epic of race and reinvention, love and inheritance, divisions made and crossed, binding trauma, and the ever-present past." —Booklist, STARRED Review
"Assured and magnetic. . .Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism…calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. . . . [a] rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed."—Kirkus, STARRED review
"Impressive … This prodigious follow-up surpasses Bennett’s formidable debut."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel, which gripped me from the first word to the last. 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, Booker Prize winning author of Girl, Woman, Other
“The detail and the feeling showcased in every sentence Brit Bennett writes is breath taking. The Vanishing Half is a novel that shows just how human emotion, uncertainty and longing can be captured and put on paper.” —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie
"A novel of immense, shining, powerful intelligence.” —Deborah Levy, two-time Booker shortlisted novelist
“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 Orange Award winning author of Ordinary People
“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..” —Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
- File size : 1010 KB
- Publication date : June 2, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Riverhead Books (June 2, 2020)
- Print length : 350 pages
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- ASIN : B07XNG5L99
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #63 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Ms Bennett holds the reader and makes you eager to find out what will happen next. Her characters are complex, interesting and very real.
One can see that she researched the material right down to the family and town names that were used.
Thank you for an entertaining and well written story.
Top reviews from other countries
Every great novel should force you out of your comfort zone, introduce you to new worlds and make you pause to think and assess. The Vanishing Half manages this, it feels, with ease. Brit Bennett achieved this with The Mothers too (which I also loved and is a MUST-read), but here the cast, the setting and the timeline are even more expansive. Thus the skill on display, even more impressive.
This is a novel that weaves the themes of history, memory and identity. It encourages us to put aside simplified notions of racial dynamics, and as a mixed-race woman, I found myself deeply interrogating my own thoughts, beliefs and experiences. This is not, though, only a novel about race and it would be disingenuous to believe so. This is a journey through family ties, belonging and loss; of individuals, couples, communities. Seamlessly bringing together these myriad threads is the sign of a masterful writer.
Brit writes with unpretentious flair, in a way that envelopes you softly, almost as though you're hearing your mum telling you the story as her mum told it to her. No word is wasted, no sentence is filler, no dialogue is superfluous. Everything serves its purpose exquisitely and is imbibed with feeling.
This novel spans the full emotional spectrum, it brought me moments of sadness, anger, and tender delight, all of which I am truly grateful for. I needed this novel right now - and I believe many of us do. Please, do not hesitate to purchase this book.
What an amazing journey I’ve been on. Not sightseeing, more like “eye opening” moments.
The Vanishing Half will not only enthrall you it will enlighten you.
Twins. One skin colour lighter than the the other. Living in a small village named Mallard.
Based around 1950’s and spanning down to 1990’s.
Just why did these identical twins get split up when running away?
What made them run?
How did one twins life take a course so far in type to their peer?
One sister living a totally black persons life while the other “passing” for white and whites privilegies.
There is racism, there is hate.
The sisters had their school life halted due to a difference in everyday life, they’re mama needed them to work, to bring in money.
Running took the sisters on totally different paths.
One having different relationships and experiences.
The other marrying a white man who thought he had married a white woman.
Both these sisters went on to have a daughter of their own.
There are lots and lots of moments in this story I’d like to share, but, I’d prefer you to experience them whilst reading this book yourself.
I remember the times when cemeteries were split. Deceased white people on one part of the land and black diseased on the other. The upkeep of the graves were done on the white side, but not the black.
It touches on history here.
But the reunion of the sisters I would have loved more emotional, and to see what happened if here husband learnt of the truth or not that she was indeed black.
I’d love a book 2 on this. Following through the next generation.
I’ve not read The Mothers by this author but I’m looking straight at it on my bookshelf so I’m definitely going to be reading that before 2020 has ended.
The real tests of the world come after Stella and Desiree Vignes run away at 16. New Orleans serves as the crossroads of the twins choosing different paths-Stella to a white world and Desiree doubling down by finding an even darker partner.
The next generation is where the impacts of race, colorism, and identity are really explored. The consequences of the twins' actions are lived out over the coming years; the story touches to Mallard, Los Angeles, and New York weaving the race reality all across the US.
The characters truly shine amongst this seeming sociological experiment regarding the effect race can have on lifestyle. Bennett has crafted all these women to be truly imperfect, nuanced characters that you become invested in especially for me, the subsequent generation.
This novel is timely and as instructive as any non-fiction both on the power of race regards and colorism but also identity and how we socially construct that. This should be required reading for any young adult up through the elder stages of life.
I will undoubtedly be revisiting this book time and time again. I already adore and am going to be pushing everyone I know and love to buy it, borrow from the library and share it.
This had not prevented whites from a neighbouring town from lynching their father for an imagined racial transgression.
In 1964 Desiree and Stella ran way to St Louis. But they soon went their separate ways. Stella, traumatized by having seen her father lynched, had decided to pass as white. She had taken a job in St Louis. Her employer, a wealthy white banker called Blake Sanders had taken a liking to her, and she to him; and when he was moved to Boston and asked her to go with him, she had agreed, and had simply walked out on Desiree without telling her where she had gone. There she married him and bore him a white daughter, Kennedy. Neither Blake nor Kennedy knew that she was not white. Later they moved to Los Angeles.
For years Stella had no contact with Desiree. She was always terrified that she would be found out, and avoided any contact with black people. The exception was her friendship for a while with Loretta Walker, a black woman who lived in the house opposite hers; but this ended when Kennedy, playing with Loretta’s daughter Cindy, made a racist comment to Cindy.
Desiree had gone to Washington D.C, and married a black man, Sam Winston, and bore him a black daughter, Jude. But Sam was violent towards Desiree, and she and Jude left him and returned to Mallard in 1968.
In 1982 Jude was living in Los Angeles with Reese Carter, a transgender man with whom, sharing his bed, she has an affaire of sorts, and with Barry, who performs as a drag queen twice a month. Reese and Barry, like Stella, were passing for something they were not.
One day, Jude thought she had seen Stella, the lookalike of her mother; and she also met Kennedy.
Kennedy had become a rebel, had dropped out school, and against her mother’s wishes, had taken up acting in a crummy play in a crummy theatre. Jude took a job as a dogsbody at the theatre in order to see more of her cousin and in the hope of meeting Stella. On the last night of the show she did meet Stella, and introduced herself to her as Desiree’s daughter. Stella froze, then walked away. Angrily, Jude told Kennedy that their mothers were twins, and that Stella had been lying to Kennedy all her life.
The secret was out: Stella knew she had been rumbled, and Kennedy knew the truth.
I found the remaining quarter of the book, dealing in part with the consequences of this situation, very confusing. Hence only three stars, when so much of the book deserves five.
The underlying description of race relations/ conflicts...what it is/was like to be Black in America are stunningly well crafted. The same goes for the author's way of portraying gender, love, family...
This woman can WRITE. I will wait impatiently for her next.