Desiree and Stella Vignes are twins born in Louisiana in a small town named Mallard. It's a town founded and inhabited by blacks in the segregated South. When they leave in the middle of the night with no goodbyes to start a new life anywhere but the small town, they find their lives taking unimaginable paths. Once you start living a lie, it's hard work to maintain it. Early decisions can change your life as well as others'. Wonderful read!!!! Wonderfully written
The 100th book I read this year was The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. After leaving this on my TBR shelves far too long, I'm glad my library book club put this in my hands and in my ears as our September title.
I've heard the basic premise of this plot many times - twin sisters run away from their tiny Southern town as teens and develop very different lives. One sister 'passes' as white while the other eventually returns to their unique home town. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the novel explores additional themes including marriage, family, colorism, and gender identity.
As in the author's debut The Mothers, the writing is powerful. âA body could be labeled but a person couldn't, and the difference between the two depended on that muscle in your chest. That beloved organ, not sentient, not aware, not feeling, just pumping along, keeping you alive.â
I marked several quotes as I read the first third in hardcover, then enjoyed the audiobook skillfully narrated by Shayna Small for the remainder of the story.
This novel generated an interesting discussion in our book club. Generally members liked it but felt it included so many topics, none were addressed in great depth. We discussed the title and noted the many plot points that fit into the theme of vanishing. As always, I appreciated the book more after discussing it with fellow readers.
I definitely appreciate Ms. Bennett's novels and will patiently wait for her next (please tell us there will be a third novel) to be published.