Dialogue's super lead for 2020. From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Mothers, a powerful new novel about the parallel lives of estranged twin sisters who 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. 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' story lines 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.
Praise for Brit Bennett:
'A writer to watch' Washington Post
'Bennett allows her characters to follow their worst impulses, and she handles provocative issues with intelligence, empathy and dark humour' New York Times
'A beautifully written, sad and lingering book' Guardian on The Mothers
Ferociously moving . . . a lush book, a book of so many secrets, betrayal . . . I found myself reading not to find out what happens to the characters, but to find out who they are - New York Times Book Review on The Mothers
[A] compelling debut - New Yorker on The Mothers
Luminous . . . engrossing and poignant, this is one not to miss - People on The Mothers
With echoes of James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Mothers is not your typical coming-of-age novel: It begins with Nadia's abortion, an experience often absent from our culture's stories, and goes on to look at how women step in to nurture - and sometimes betray - one another - Vogue on The Mothers
A refreshingly fast-paced story of young love, race, and religious hypocrisy - Vanity Fair on The Mothers
A beautifully written, sad and lingering book - Guardian on The Mothers