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The Vanishing Half: A Novel af Brit Bennett
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The Vanishing Half: A Novel (original 2020; udgave 2020)

af Brit Bennett (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,676937,555 (4.13)89
"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. Ten 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"--… (mere)
Medlem:JavidSalardis
Titel:The Vanishing Half: A Novel
Forfattere:Brit Bennett (Forfatter)
Info:Riverhead Books (2020), 352 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:fictional novel, fiction, twins

Detaljer om værket

The Vanishing Half af Brit Bennett (2020)

  1. 10
    Passing af Nella Larsen (bhowell)
    bhowell: Passing by Nella Larsen is classic literature and a look at the same issue early in the 20th century
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» Se også 89 omtaler

Barack Obama listed this as one of his favourite books in 2020. It might not rank as one of my favourites, but in audio format it certainly entertained me on my morning walks.

Desiree and Stella Vignes are twins born in Mallard, Louisiana, a place where only light-skinned blacks live. In 1954, at the age of sixteen, the two run away to New Orleans. Later the two girls go their separate ways and lose contact. Desiree moves to Washington where she marries a very dark-skinned black man with whom she has a daughter Jude. Fourteen years after leaving, Desiree returns to Mallard with Jude who has inherited her father’s blue-black skin.

Meanwhile, Stella has been passing as white. She marries her boss Blake Sanders and they move to Los Angeles where they have a daughter Kennedy. No one knows about her past though she lives in constant fear of exposure, especially when Kennedy meets Jude.

Covering about 40 years, the narrative moves back and forth through time and shifts between characters, primarily Desiree, Stella, Jude and Kennedy. The women tend to be foil characters. Desiree is the high-spirited extrovert whereas Stella is the bookish introvert. Desiree embraces her black identity while her twin totally rejects her ethnicity. Jude is hardworking and grounded while her cousin is spoiled and rudderless.

The novel explores how identity is a performance. We all wear masks so there is often a difference between our authentic selves and our projected selves. When I was a teacher, I often mentioned how the profession was much like acting; what students saw was not always the real me but the persona I chose to construct. In the novel, there are many characters who hide parts of themselves. Stella is the major example, of course, but there is also her daughter who as an actor finds her passion in trying different identities. Jude meets Reese, a transsexual who hides his female body, and Barry, a high school teacher who regularly becomes Bianca, a drag queen.

The book also examines the impact of choices on both the one choosing and his/her family. Stella often thinks of the effort needed to maintain her façade. She also lives with a constant fear that someone will see her that she is masquerading as a white. Her life is a lie and so she becomes alienated not just from the family she has rejected but from herself. Kennedy senses that Stella is hiding things and so comes not to trust her mother. Stella pays a high price for passing; she has financial security but she does not feel happy and fulfilled.

Racism is at the heart of so much that happens. Though the twins and their parents are light-skinned, they are not safe from racialized violence, an instance of which scars the girls for life. Stella and Desiree are expected to work as cleaners for whites. Interestingly, Stella’s white life begins when she gets a job as a secretary in the marketing department of the Maison Blanche chain of stores. Because Jude is so dark, when she moves to Mallard she becomes a victim of colorism (a bias against people of darker skin from others within the same race). Stella believes that only as a white can she acquire the stability and security she so desires.

There are a number of coincidences that further the dramatic action but still feel forced. Jude and Kennedy meet by chance in Los Angeles and later in New York. A bounty hunter is hired to find Mrs. Winston and then learns he is looking for the woman who was his first love. Of course, these chance encounters are expected if there is to be any type of reunion.

This book presents many ideas for the reader to consider, so I’d certainly recommend it. The audiobook version narrated by Shayna Small is excellent.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Mar 6, 2021 |
This is the story of a family living in a small majority Black town in Louisiana and the twin sisters who ran away and how their paths diverged, with one eventually ending up back in her childhood home and the other disappearing entirely to live as a white woman, and about their two daughters, as their lives intersect.

I find it hardest to write a review when I really love a book, and that is certainly the case with this novel. The Vanishing Half follows the sisters growing up in the small town of Mallard in the 1960s, their running away to New Orleans and beyond. It also follows their daughters in the 1980s, in Los Angeles, as one lives as a the pampered daughter of white parents and the other attends UCLA on scholarship, fall in love and finds a group of people who love and support her. Bennett juggles the two timelines so well, and has created such wonderfully complex characters. Highly recommended. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Feb 28, 2021 |
This was a great read. Told from many different character perspectives, both fulfilling and a little exhausting; but I believe necessary to really understand and sit with the topics of race, colorism, family dynamics, etc. It took me about 120 pages to really get into the book, the build up of the disappeared Stella a little slow for me in the beginning. What ended up reeling me in, the daughters perspective and narrative. I also so appreciated the convergence of experiences amongst different identities. ( )
  ToriC90 | Feb 27, 2021 |
Excellent, if lengthy. ( )
  quirkylibrarian | Feb 27, 2021 |
US
  Nickelini | Feb 23, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 92 (næste | vis alle)
The Vanishing Half is the fairy tale we need right now to tell us the truth....

All of these events unfold with the inevitability of a folktale or a fable — which is how The Vanishing Half, with its many folklorish narrative extravagances, reads. This book is not interested in literary realism. It is a fairy tale, and it makes no apologies for being so....But within its fairy-tale structure, The Vanishing Half is able to be ambitious with its characters. ...Reading The Vanishing Half at this moment in time, as America protests against the police killings of black people and the police respond with brutality, feels like reading a parable that is wiser and more beautiful than we deserve. One that is built around all the secrets buried in the rotten core of America’s racial history.

There is deep truth within fairy tales. And with The Vanishing Half, Bennett has written a marvel of one.
tilføjet af vancouverdeb | RedigerVox
 
A new novel explores the construct of race in the diverging lives of light-skinned black twins, one of whom transitions into a life as a white woman....Issues of privilege, intergenerational 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.
 
Race is much on America’s mind now, in all the myriad ways it shapes our lives, whatever color our skin might be. It also lies at the heart of Brit Bennett’s moving and insightful new novel, The Vanishing Half, the story of twin sisters who choose to live their lives as different races, one black, one white....The Vanishing Half is skillfully structured and filled with richly developed characters who defy stereotypes. By turns poignant and funny, it’s a timely look at the dual nature of race — an abstract construct, a visceral reality — and the damage that racism can inflict.
 
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The morning one of the lost twins returned to Mallard, Lou LeBon ran to the diner to break the news, and even now, many years later, everyone remembers the shock of sweaty Lou pushing through the glass doors, chest heaving, neckline darkened with his own effort.
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The hardest part about becoming someone else was deciding to. The rest was only logistics.
She had rung the bell, and all her life, the note would hang in the air.
Like leaving, the hardest part of returning was deciding to.
Her death hit in waves. Not a flood, but water lapping steadily at her ankles.

You could drown in two inches of water. Maybe grief was the same.
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"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. Ten 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"--

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