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On our Bookshelf

‘The Vanishing Half,’ by Brit Bennett

By Team Face

The Vanishing Half

Britt Bennet

On our bookshelf for May is “The Vanishing Half”, a novel written by best selling author Britt Bennett. To say it makes for an enthralling, captivating and thought-provoking read would not be untrue. The novel follows the lives of twin sisters, Stella and Desiree Vignes, born and raised in the fictional southern black town of Mallard in the 1950s. The town’s residents are all light-skinned African Americans, obsessed with maintaining their racial purity, which leads to the exclusion of darker-skinned people. The sisters run away to New Orleans at sixteen years old, but their lives take very different paths.

Desiree marries a dark-skinned man, has a daughter, and returns to Mallard with bruises and scars, seeking refuge. Stella, on the other hand, passes as white, marries a white man, and lives a life of luxury in California. The novel explores the themes of identity, race, and family, and the different choices people make in life.

The story is told through multiple perspectives, including those of Stella and Desiree’s daughters, Kennedy and Jude, who are themselves grappling with their own identities and family histories. Kennedy grows up in a wealthy white community, while Jude is raised by their mother in a predominantly black neighborhood. As the sisters’ paths cross again, secrets are revealed, and the consequences of their choices are explored.

The novel touches on the issues of colorism and racism, as well as the impact of societal expectations on personal identity. It also explores the complexities of family relationships, including the bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, and how these can be strained by secrets and differences in life choices.

Bennett’s writing is powerful, emotive, and immersive, drawing the reader into the world of Mallard and the lives of its inhabitants. The characters are richly drawn, with complex motivations and experiences, and the plot is compelling, keeping the reader engaged from start to finish. “The Vanishing Half” is a thought-provoking and poignant novel that highlights the importance of self-discovery and acceptance, as well as the enduring power of family ties.

The Vanishing Half, ₹393, Amazon.in

Link: https://www.amazon.in/Vanishing-Half-Sunday-Times-Bestseller/dp/0349701474/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

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