A review of THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett
A compassionate tapestry about the choices we make to define ourselves, THE VANISHING HALF primarily tells the tale of two African-American twins who run away from their tiny town in the South and end up leading very different lives when one claims an identity as White. Brit Bennett deftly weaves the story over time and generations, going well beyond the issues of race and at the same time, deeply into them.
The narrative is immersive and expansive, spanning years and U.S. geography, and swirling with mothers, daughters, sisters, and the ways that family and the places that we live shape us. The writing is rich and descriptive, and the characters vividly human. The novel inspires perceptive questions about identity and an individual or society’s ownership of it. For example, when both accepting and rejecting a label come with steep costs, what constitutes a “good” choice?
As is probably apparent, this book continues to echo in my imagination and conversations, a stellar example of the reading experience on my wishlist for everyone this holiday season.