The Vanishing Half: A Novel (Hardcover)

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June 2020 Indie Next List


“Brit Bennett’s second novel broke my heart. She doesn’t shy away from the sadness inherent in each character’s life, yet she left me feeling better for having met all of them. I read The Vanishing Half with a sense of hope, despite my dread that terrible things might befall the characters. Desiree and Stella’s story unfolds with a deft delicateness in a book that is astonishingly accomplished and sweeping, and yet so very intimate.”
— Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Description


Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by O, the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vogue, 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

“Sure to be one of 2020's best and boldest.” Elle


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.

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.

Praise For…


Praise for The Vanishing Half: 

“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

“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
 
“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
 
"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



Product Details
ISBN: 9780525536291
ISBN-10: 0525536299
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Pages: 352