Synopses & Reviews
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Harper's Bazaar, Buzzfeed, PureWow, New York Magazine and more
"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 page-turner." O, The Oprah Magazine
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.
"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] sharp story about the way identity is formed." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"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." Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize winning author of Girl, Woman, Other
"Impressive...Bennett renders her characters and their struggles with great compassion, and explores the complicated state of mind that Stella finds herself in while passing as white. This prodigious follow-up surpasses Bennett's formidable debut." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Brit Bennett is the author of the New York Times-bestselling novel The Mothers; a finalist for the NBCC John Leonard Prize for the best first book, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award; and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.