Sixteen year old physically identical twin sisters Stella and Desiree Vignes flee the small town Mallard, Louisiana, USA to start a new and better life in New Orleans. They become irrevocably separated and embark on drastically different paths. Desiree returns to Mallard, where its inhabitants pride themselves on the lightness of their skin, with her young very dark-skinned daughter, meanwhile Stella, denying her heritage, escapes into a white world. The choices each twin makes has far-reaching, unintended consequences.
This powerful narrative spanning the decades, from 1950s to the 1990s is told from the perspective of the twins and their daughters, Jade and Kennedy; contrasting their very different lives. It’s more than an engrossing story of the twin sisters and their daughters. It’s about identity; racial, gender and socioeconomic identity. It transports the reader from the small town of Mallard, to LA and New York where these characters inhabit markedly different worlds.
The global “Black Lives Matter’ movement has heightened the awareness of racism which continues to be perpetrated around the world. Readers of ‘The Vanishing Half’ will acquire a greater insight into segregation, and racism as experienced by Brit Bennett’s main characters, thus gaining a better understanding of the historical context of this crusade.
I highly recommend this thought-provoking book, as it will leave the reader reflecting on this many layered story for many days after reading the final page.