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The Vanishing Half

International Dublin Literary Award, 2021

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781405544795

Price: £19.99

Reviews

Bennett explores the multiple ways in which race and gender can be authentic, permeable and socially constructed all at once, without ever passing judgment on her characters. Combining a mythic structure with emotionally rich social realism, this is a truly excellent novel
Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
The detail and the feeling showcased in every sentence Brit Bennett writes is breathtaking. The Vanishing Half is a novel that shows just how human emotion, uncertainty and longing can be captured and put on paper
Candice Carty-Williams
As thought-provoking as it is engrossing
Oprah magazine
The omniscient authorial voice is gentle and compassionate in a tale that inverts and confounds expectations . . . cleverly constructed to both match and critique the conservativism of the 1950s and 60s : the attenuated tone chimes with the restrained language and style of the period. Ultimately, it's a quietly damning account of acquiescing to an imitation of life and the delusion of the American dream
Colin Grant, Observer
Brit Bennett has learned a lot from Toni Morrison - the use of uncanny rural communities in the South/Midwest; twins/doppelgängers to explore the extreme edges of the American Dream; whip-smart dialogue - but her exquisite slowness and patience of tone are unique. A wonderful, cosseting read
Paul Mendez, author of Rainbow Milk
Beautifully written
Bella
Mesmerising . . . the powerful plot twists in the novel, which concludes in 1986, will keep you gripped until the end
Independent
Bennett's gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter
New York Times
Deft, dazzling, many-layered, highly detailed and emotionally absorbing . . . [Bennett] unpicks the terrible, wonderful, inescapable threads that bind sisters across time, place and lies, and does so with poise, grace and breathtaking prose. A beautiful, important and timely book
Ella Walker, Scotsman
The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel. It seduces with its literary flair, surprises with its breath-taking plot twists, delights with its psychological insights, and challenges us to consider the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives. I absolutely loved this book
Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize
A lyrical mediation on identity, race and gender. Bennett explores the selves we choose to be, as well as the selves we have imposed on us with great empathy and precision. The Vanishing Half is a gorgeous, generous novel and written with true heart
Elizabeth Day
Stunning . . . seamless and suspenseful . . . engrossing and surprisingly apolitical . . . The result is a novel that reads effortlessly . . . There is tremendous, timeless wisdom here
AV Club
Deeply compelling . . . brilliantly creates a network of characters - singular and vivid . . . There are moments . . . that stun with quiet power . . . The Vanishing Half more than succeeds as a beautifully imagined story about an American family
USA Today
A novel about motherhood and race, incredibly clever and interrogates race with nuance . . . Compulsively readable . . . An incredible talent . . . a book to look forward to
The High Low podcast
Bennett's wonderful novel tackles race and identity in the US, as the Vignes twins, Desiree and Stella, who choose very different paths through life
The i
An impressive and arresting novel. Perceptive in its insights and poised in execution, this is an important, timely examination of the impact of race on personality, experience and relationships
Diana Evans
Bennett tells the story of the girls' diverging trajectories in rich, elegant prose; you can literally swirl the words in your mouth
Evening Standard
One of the most engaging books of the year
The i
Fascinating and beautifully written
Good Housekeeping
Bennett's mesmerising gem is a masterclass of moving storytelling. The Vanishing Half is also a thought provoking assessment of race and social politics in post-war America .. . The powerful plot twists will keep you gripped until the end
Independent
Beautifully written and unputdownable. Bennett is a major force in American literature and I cannot get enough of her storytelling.
Mel Giedroyc
Epic and unforgettable
Hello!
An absorbing read that stays with you long after you've closed its pages
Herald
Stunning . . . Bennett pulls it off brilliantly . . . Few novels manage to remain interesting from start to finish, even - maybe especially - the brilliant ones. But . . . Bennett locks readers in and never lets them go
Los Angeles Times
A thought-provoking read
Woman & Home
Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter. . . there is such depth, possibility and dramatic propulsion . . a brave foray into vast and difficult terrain. . . .The novel raises thorny questions about the cost of blackness. The answers are complicated
New York Times Book Review
A must-read . . . A tender story about race, family and identity
Best
I knew very little about the American history of 'passing' and this novel opened my eyes to its heartbreaking complexities whilst exploring the intricate notion of identity and life sacrifices
Ruth Jones
I loved Bennett's rich elegant prose
Evening Standard
A triumph of empathetic storytelling . . . A terrific novel
Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
This ticks all the boxes for me - enticing plot, memorable characters, all wrapped up in beautiful writing . . . an astounding book
Nina Pottell, Prima
I loved how Bennett explores the concepts of belonging and family
Cosmopolitan
A bold, skilful storyteller . . . a novel that deftly rehearses the history of prejudice and suffering leading up to the present moment. It's a clever balancing act indeed to pair such heartbreaking material with a narrative that's so much fun
Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times
A powerful, tender family epic which reminds us directly and poignantly that things are not black and white
Louisa Young
Fluent and openhearted . . . In a style as easy and candid as a detective story, Bennett scatters clues for us to gather just as, crucially, the twins' contrasting daughters, Jude and Kennedy, piece together fragments of their painful heritage
Maria Crawford, Financial Times
The Vanishing Half is one of those jaw-dropping, life-changing novels that you thrust into everyone's hands.
Reader's Digest
Bennett has been described as a successor to the likes of Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, and The Vanishing Half promises an absorbing exploration of race, family and the American history of "passing"
Refinery29
Moving back and forth over three decades, and the course of an intricately detailed plot, Bennett's superb novel takes the issue of race as the starting point for a deep exploration of identity
Financial Times
A gorgeously rich, sweeping saga
Evening Standard
Bennett is a gifted storyteller. This generous, humane novel has many merits, not least its engrossing plot and richly detailed settings
Michael Donkor, Guardian
The Vanishing Half does exactly what a great novel is meant to do. It fills you with questions, exposes you to realities you may never have thought of and of course keeps you up into the night reading. The characters in this book are so real, so warm and so very complicated. I loved every part of it, even when it was making me sad or angry. It's just such a beautiful story
Luan Goldie
The Vanishing Half is an immersive story about family, identity and belonging
Red
A stunning family saga about passing for white and the hollowness of the American dream that won her comparisons to Toni Morrison
Guardian
A thought-provoking read about identity and gender
Zoe West, Women's Weekly
Bennett imbues her characters with immense heart, and does a great job of depicting their lives through the years. Even better, she works hard to draw resonances throughout her thoughtful and compassionate tale, looking at the dubious history of the Vignes girls' lineage, as well as the difficulties and struggles of their children as they stride forward into the world. There is a simple lyrical quality to Bennett's prose that evokes an entire place and time in just a few well-balanced sentences, and the way she treats all her characters with respect and care makes The Vanishing Half an engaging and thought-provoking read on every level
Big Issue
Bennett's second novel is an expertly plotted and empathetic exploration of race, identity and colourism in the tradition of Toni Morrison.
Guardian
An engrossing, provocative read exploring themes of family, relationships and race
Books of the Year, Express
It's intensely emotional and gorgeously written, with timely insights into the poison of racism
Sunday Mirror
Superb. A gorgeously immersive novel. It deftly explores the dichotomies of twinship, passing and class in America
Irenosen Okojie
The Vanishing Half is one of this year's most anticipated books . . . Sweeping and ambitious . . . Combining an addictive story (it's perfect for book clubs ) with serious questions of racism, social expectations, lies, love and compassion - this is an unforgettable read
Stylist
The year's most addictive novel
Metro
The intricacies of identity, of "shadeism" between differently skin-toned African-Americans, of white privilege are skilfully pursued in this poignant and clever multigenerational saga about race in America
The Times
The Vanishing Half should mark the induction of Brit Bennett into the small group of likely successors to Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen. I read it torn between competing urges: I wanted to greedily turn the pages, yet I also wanted to savour every word, lingering as long as I could with the delicious feeling of being sunk so deep into the story that every time I set the book aside it felt like coming up for air. Compelling, compassionate and astonishingly good
Sara Collins
It has the ideal mix of social commentary and a pacy plot - I tore through it in a couple of days
The i
This book has everything: enticing plot, memorable characters and beautiful, melodic writing
Books of the Year, Prima
An entirely mesmerising novel
Psychologies
A potent, generous, and masterful novel. Bennett is a humane and supple story-teller we are lucky to have
Olivia Sudjic
Arguably the book of the summer, Bennett's second novel is a page-turning saga of race and family
The i
Brit Bennett is a tremendous talent
Imbolo Mbue
Old-fashioned epic meets modern identity politics in this excellent novel about the mixed fortunes of light-skinned black twins born in 1950s Louisiana
Telegraph
A novel of immense, shining, powerful intelligence
Deborah Levy