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The Vanishing Half


“The Vanishing Half” is a novel written by Brit Bennett, published in 2020. The story follows the lives of twin sisters, Desiree and Stella Vignes, who were born and raised in a small, predominantly black town in Louisiana called Mallard.

As they grow up, Desiree and Stella realize that Mallard has its own unique racial hierarchy, where light-skinned individuals are prized and valued above those with darker skin. This realization shapes their experiences and aspirations in vastly different ways.

Desiree, the more rebellious of the two sisters, decides to leave Mallard as a teenager and marry a dark-skinned man, despite the town’s expectations. Stella, on the other hand, decides to pass as white and disappears without a trace, leaving behind her family and identity as a black woman.

The novel traces the divergent paths of the two sisters over the course of several decades, exploring themes of race, identity, family, and the complexities of human relationships. As Desiree struggles to build a new life for herself and her daughter in Mallard, Stella reinvents herself as a white woman and tries to leave her past behind.

As the sisters’ lives unfold, their choices have far-reaching consequences that ripple through generations, affecting their children and grandchildren in unexpected ways. “The Vanishing Half” is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of race, identity, and the enduring bonds of family. Brit Bennett delivers a poignant and timely story that challenges readers to confront their own beliefs about race and identity.

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