The Vanishing Half


Cori’s Pick: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This second novel by Brit Bennett (The Mothers was her debut) focuses on twin sisters, Desiree and Stella Vignes.  They were raised in the fictional small town of Mallard, Louisiana that became an exclusive place for light-skinned blacks, thanks to their great-great-great grandfather.  The small town’s prejudices deepen over time and create challenges that forever splinter the lives of Desiree and Stella – one becomes white and the other marries the darkest man she could find.  In alternating chapters spanning 50 years, we learn the life-changing decisions each twin has made and the impacts those decisions have made on their adult lives. .

Bennett weaves a beautiful story that made me flip pages to find out not only what happens over the course of Desiree and Stella’s lives, but to find out their identities as twins, as sisters, as black women, as white women and so much more.  This book offers plenty of insight to race as well as a rich and intoxicating plot exploring choices and circumstance.  This isn’t a heavy read, but one you’ll devour quickly and think about long after you’ve finished.