What do you think she was hoping to achieve or get out of it, and do you think it was worth it? Book: The Vanishing Half Author: Brit Bennett Edition: Hardcover 2020. Have you read The Vanishing Half or would you consider reading it? The book tracks their lives across generations, as their lives branch away from each other and yet remain intertwined. Based on Tim Krabbé’s novel The Golden Egg, George Sluizer's The Vanishing was a minor sensation when it finally debuted in U.S. arthouses in late 1990/early 1991, a full two years after it was made. The L.A. Times Book Club’s August selection is “The Vanishing Half,” Brit Bennett’s new novel about family secrets and twin sisters whose lives take radically different paths. If you were in their situation, what path do you think you would have chosen? A conversation with Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half Q. Adele passes away, and Jude and Reese go home to attend the funeral. In Part VI (1986), Stella goes home in order to ask Desiree to tell Jude to leave Kennedy alone. The Vanishing Half is a rich, extravagant fairy tale of a book. I really, really wish I had a group to discuss this book with right now. Would love to hear other opinions on this as well! Stella applies for a job at the New Orleans department store Maison Blanche (the “White House”), becomes the secretary to a man named Blake Sanders, and eventually marries him and moves to Los Angeles with him when his work transfers him there. I just finished reading the book a few minutes ago, and I’m curious to know if you liked the ending? No one ever questions her “whiteness.” All one has to do be “white,” she realizes, is to act as if you’re white. Bennett’s writing is straightforward, but descriptive in the right places. T he Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a 2020 novel about estranged twins Desiree and Stella Vignes and their daughters, Jude and Kennedy. After reading your review, I see that every character in this story had their own secrets, even down to Early and Barry, which made me appreciate the author’s crafting of this book. See the archives. I loved how Bennett made the characters not ” perfect” but full of the real issues that make up the racial questions we all have to grapple with every day, especially if you are a woman of color. He accepts because he recognizes Desiree from when they were teenagers. (I’d actually point them to Ta Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer, if you’re looking for a recent fiction release in that vein.). They go to work for the wealthy Duponts, and Mr. Dupont sexually abuses Stella. The novel progressively reveals more and more intimacies, including the … The characters are faced with limitations and hard decisions as they are forced to choose their identities. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In Part IV (1982), Jude is now working while applying to medical school. The Vanishing Half content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. Jude’s story is that of a dark-skinned young woman coming of age and discovering her identity. One would think that Desiree has done well for herself by marrying him. Sam becomes abusive both verbally and physically. The timbre of the woman’s voice didn’t really appeal to be, I found it to be a bit thin, but there was nothing objectively wrong with it. In 1954, Desiree and Stella, then aged sixteen, run away from home, leaving behind their mother, Adele, who works in a diner. The Vanishing is at its best when anything could happen; as soon as things actually begin to it rapidly loses the audience’s interest. The Vanishing (Dutch: Spoorloos, literally: "Traceless" or "Without a Trace") is a 1988 thriller film directed by George Sluizer, adapted from the novella The Golden Egg (1984) by Tim Krabbé.It stars Gene Bervoets as a man who searches obsessively for his girlfriend following her disappearance at a rest area.. Log in here. Desiree and Stella Vignes are raised in Mallard, Louisiana. Desiree always wanted to leave, but Stella isn't motivated to run away until they are pulled out of high school to work as cleaners. Desiree's daughter, Jude, moves to Los Angeles, where she meets Stella's daughter, Kennedy. For the next week, I'm hoping we'll be able to respond to these questions and build off of each other's responses. Kennedy ends up confronting Stella with the photo, but Stella lies, to Kennedy's frustration. Mostly I’m curious what others from different backgrounds would think, since depending on people’s experiences you may view these characters and the decisions that they make differently. In time, this film from director Kristoffer Nyholm ponders aloud whether the three men were consumed by forces more immediate, and if done right, more thrilling than eight-eyed sea monsters or alien kidnappers. The Vanishing Half centers on the story of twins Desiree and Stella Vignes, who are born in the tiny Louisiana village of Mallard in the 1930s. As "The Vanishing" goes on, the film’s inklings of horror prove to make for a strange but too slow set of events. Very sad scenario, regardless of the story. At home, Stella learns that their mother Adele now has Alzheimer's. She attends a friend's show where she meets Kennedy, recognizing her as the violet-eyed girl who was with the woman she that looked like her mother. Everything converges in a final act that is truly triumphant and we're here to revel in its glory. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. On seeing Desiree again, Stella asks for forgiveness. This novel is getting a LOT of buzz, so that’s a good start. It was also an unexpectedly effortless read, considering the somewhat heavy topics in the book. Sam is a professional man, a lawyer. In L.A., she and Blake live in upscale Brentwood, a... (The entire section contains 1256 words.). There are some books that I keep reading after it’s no fun because I know it’s good for the mind, but this is not one of those books. Chapter-by-Chapter Summary of The Vanishing Half, picked up for an HBO limited series in a 7-figure deal, Everything We Know About the 'The Vanishing Half' Adaptation. Upon seeing her bruises, he lies to Sam and says he can't find her. Kennedy grows up believing she is entirely white. In 1954, when they are sixteen, they run away from home. Perhaps it felt a little sudden, but I think it made sense. It seemed a little unfinished to me, but I tend to feel that way about any book that leaves any sort of loose ends. In Part II (1968), we learn that Stella had married her boss, Blake Sanders, and they had moved away. Stella reflects upon how easy it has been to carry off the deception. The Vanishing Half is a powerful, timely and very human story about identity and race. Fiction provides the opportunity for us to empathize with individuals that we otherwise might never meet or even understand. Why do you think Stella becomes depressed after Loretta leaves? The Vanishing Half is set a few decades in the past, but Bennett uses her premise to explore a number of very contemporary issues about race. There is no special trick or skill involved in the process. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was on a lot of lists for highly anticipated books for 2020, but now it’s been picked up for an HBO limited series in a 7-figure deal. They are wealthy and have a blond-haired, violet-eyed daughter, Kennedy. A great review, Jennifer! I have recently read and reviewed this book too! For example, Stella ends up living in a white neighborhood, filled with the type of people who might support Dr. King’s ideas, but who also don’t want Black people living in their neighborhood. I agree with everything you pointed out and that it’s an effortless read! When dismissed from this work, the two go in opposite directions. I knew that The Vanishing Half would mostly be a story centered around twin sisters, then I realized I also wanted to spend time in the perspectives of their daughters and explore both sides of the mother daughter relationship. When Kennedy asks about the ring, Stella is happy she's back and tired of lying and finally tells her the full truth. She meets and marries a man named Sam Winston. It’s a multilayered story about identity, family and the secrets we keep. Reminds me of the film “Imitation of Life” which was a classic movie and very emotional, ending with Mahalia Jackson singing a real tearjerker at the black mother’s funeral. Loved the book and yes it did raise so many issues. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. I knew based on the reviews that it would likely be a book with good insights on race, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the story even apart from that. How did you manage to … The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a 2020 novel about estranged twins Desiree and Stella Vignes and their daughters, Jude and Kennedy. Soon after, Kennedy finally decides to move home. I didn’t understand the last sentence and it’s significance. What do you think about Jude’s curiosity about Stella? Stella decides to pass as white, marrying a white businessman and moving to Los Angeles, where she, too, has a daughter. Briefly, The Vanishing Half is a story about racial issues in the deep South from the 1950s through the 1990s. Mostly, I just think this is just a solidly compelling drama that wraps in a lot of issues about identity, family and race in a way that feels thoughtful and not too heavy handed. What did you think about the ending? That might sound pejorative, but please trust me, I don’t mean it to. (The Detailed Plot Summary is also available, below). The Vanishing Half offers us this opportunity extravagantly, opening the door wide to share varied lives, very personally. Do you think that’s a healthy fixation? Why do you think the neighborhood loves the character that Reginald Walker plays on his television show, but still treats him so poorly? Who did you sympathize or connect with more, Stella or Desiree? It’s a poignant family story that doesn’t shy away from the intersections of race, class, and gender—all while capturing the reader’s heart and mind in a … In Part V (1985), Kennedy and Jude end up meeting again in New York. Word Count: 1256. I was surprised how quickly I found myself drawn into this story. Together, they track Stella's location to Boston. While this book does a good job of telling a powerful and meaningful story, as far as issues surrounding race goes, I think most of the territory this book covers will be familiar to that type of reader. Last Updated on August 26, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. A shame, really. The twins have left Mallard not merely because of this traumatic incident, but because at the end of tenth grade their mother has pulled them out of school and put them to work housecleaning for white people. Stella has always been secretive, but now Kennedy knows her mother has been lying to her. Desiree marries, has a daughter, leaves her husband, and returns to Mallard. Jude and Kennedy get to know each other, but when Kennedy drunkenly insults Jude, Jude angrily tells her the truth about Stella and Mallard. What do you think of Stella’s decision to pass as white? It was a matter of choice, and Desiree could have done the same thing if she had wished. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. What do you think? This is an earthy thriller with a palpable atmosphere, but it never quite manages to have its characters feel as natural as its landscapes. Why did Brit Bennett title her novel The Vanishing Half? The story became more like a baton being passed from character to character. It also works as a general work of fiction for those who like books about personal journeys, coming of age stories and narratives about self-discovery. What do you think it says about the town and its founders that they wanted to live in a town with entirely light-skinned black people? The ending of The Shining explained By Matthew Jackson / Jan. 29, 2019 3:35 pm EST / Updated: May 14, 2020 5:12 pm EST For nearly 40 years now, … Stella is a light-skinned Black woman passing as white, and Desiree is a light-skinned Black woman who chooses to maintain her Black identity. What do you think about Desiree’s decision to marry a dark-skinned black man, Sam? In Part I (1968), Stella and Desiree Vignes are twins from Mallard, Louisiana, a town full of light-skinned Black people, who run away from home at 16. Reese wants to get surgery for his chest, so Jude gets a higher-paying catering job to help save money. She meets and falls for Reese, a southern boy who is transgendered. Now, 14 years later in 1968, Desiree has returned home with her daughter to escape Sam's abuse. I took the last sentence (about the river and begging to forget) to be about how we are all formed according to our paths, and most of us have some part of that we try to leave behind and pain associated it that we want to forget about. It would be such a great book club book because of the perspectives it works into the narrative. In making those choices, the Vanishing Half also contemplates the things that people must hide from those that they love, the sacrifices they have to make and the things they have to do to keep those identities safe from others who wouldn’t accept it. It's a story that explores the intricacies of identity, family and race in a provocative but compassionate way. The Vanishing Half author Brit Bennett sat down with Trevor Noah to discuss colorism, racial passing, and her thought process when writing the book. Anyways, for my final review of the year I have chosen to do Indigo’s top book of the year, Goodreads’ top historical fiction book of the year, and one of Obama’s favourite books of the year—The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. There is a Black family (Reginald and Loretta Walker, with their daughter Cindy) moving into their neighborhood, to everyone's displeasure. The Vanishing features no ETs or even man-eating seabirds, but the tale that the writers Joe Bone and Celyn Jones have cooked up does feature frightening pirate … In 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the urban turmoil unleashed in its aftermath, Desiree takes Jude and leaves Sam, returning to Mallard without leaving him any word as to where she has gone. Did you like the way things were resolved. However, Stella asks Kennedy not to tell her father (Stella's not planning on changing her life). You'll get access to all of the Desiree also tells Early about Stella, and Early offers to find her. This is the ending of V for Vendetta explained. Made me think of my own life and how I fluctuate with using a different voice on the phone to sound more like a ” white woman” when I want to make sure I get what I want from the call! The Vanishing Half explores themes of race, family, and identity. Jude realizes their familial connection, motivating Kennedy to uncover Stella's concealed past. Why do you think Stella feels she has to leave Desiree in New Orleans without saying goodbye? A. I love novels that tell stories of communities. Jude gives Kennedy a photo of their mothers. Desiree and Stella have witnessed the lynching of their father, Leon, who is shot in front of his house but initially survives and is taken to the hospital.The lynchers then invade his hospital room and kill him. In what ways are those challenges similar or different for characters such as Stella, Reese or Barry? And why do you think Stella still wants to hide her past from her husband after going through all this? In Part II (1978), Jude is now in college at UCLA. Mallard’s distinction, though the outside world is barely aware of it even as a place on a map, is that it was founded and almost entirely populated by light-skinned Black people. Follow along on Goodreads, or keep in touch via the newsletter. The novel ends with Iris refusing to let go of Esme’s hand no matter what. So many women of color will have their own personal reflections of how life gets played out pending on the pigmentation of your skin. Desiree marries a dark-skinned Black man and has a child, while Stella lives her life passing as white. At the end of the book, when Stella finally goes home, why do you think Stella tries to leave without saying goodbye? They have a child, a girl they name Jude, who like her father is very dark. There’s not a lot of filler, which I generally prefer, and the plot moves forward at a pretty steady clip. For my cocktail, I am making a White Russian. In this book, you write from a number of perspectives, spanning different decades and ages. As a dark-skinned girl who grew up with only light-skinned Black people, she has been bullied and excluded her whole life. They hug and they catch up, but then Stella sneaks out at night to leave and return to her life. Meanwhile, Stella got a job as secretary while passing as white. However, one day she left, leaving only a note. As teenagers, what do you think drove Desiree and Stella’s desires to leave the town? She was depressed after the Walkers left and ended up going back to school. Part I: The Lost Twins (1968) Summary and Analysis, Part II: Maps (1978) Summary and Analysis, Part III: Heartlines (1968) Summary and Analysis, Part IV: The Stage Door (1982) Summary and Analysis, Part V: Pacific Cove (1985/1988) Summary and Analysis, Part VI: Places (1986) Summary and Analysis. A lot of the characters have things about themselves they feel they have to hide from others. The Vanishing Half follows the lives of two twin girls, both light-skinned Black girls, who run away from home at the age of sixteen. Desiree marries a dark-skinned man (Sam) and has a daughter, Jude. There’s a brutal scene half-way through The Vanishing, director Kristoffer Nyholm’s “what if?” take on the Flannan Isle mystery. It’s a really, really good book that just happens to be a perfect storm of all the things that book clubs generally like. It’s a fight between lighthouse keepers James Ducat (Gerard Butler) and Thomas Marshall (Peter Mullan), and two violent Scandinavian men who’ve appeared looking for … In 1988, George Sluizer made a French-Belgian production, also called "The Vanishing," that was one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. "The Vanishing" is a textbook exercise in the trashing of a nearly perfect film, conducted oddly enough under the auspices of the man who directed it. The Vanishing was released on 27 October 1988, and received positive reviews. I very much enjoyed this book the whole way through. The pretext was Leon’s allegedly “insulting” a white woman, but in reality the murder was prompted simply by the white group’s objection to the lower prices Leon set for the merchandise in his store—in other words, economic competition was at the root. Desiree and Early move to Houston. Desiree goes north, to Washington, D.C., where she obtains a job with the FBI as a fingerprint reader. Sam is African-American, but Desiree notes that his skin is very dark, unlike that of Desiree and her sister. The Killer in The Vanishing (1988, orig. Many were left puzzled by the film's cryptic message. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, A story about two twins living divergent lives. The source material for HBO's new limited series is Bennett's groundbreaking 2020 novel. Already a member? We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Stella also gives Early her wedding ring to sell off for money to help with Adele's care. Hi Julie, I love thoughtful and interesting comments like yours, so first thank you for your thoughts! Kennedy moves to Europe. “The Vanishing Half” answers all these questions in this exquisite story of love, survival and triumph. He's offered a job (from Sam) to find Desiree. I really enjoyed this book, and I think it would be so fantastic as a television series, so I’m looking forward to when that happens. What do you think inspires people who are similar to the character of Percy White (president of the Homeowner’s Association) to act the way that do? The Vanishing Half is a quintessential book club book. Each of these characters is a product of their past and also is trying to make peace with their past as well. The Vanishing Half follows the lives of two twin girls, both light-skinned Black girls, who run away from home at the age of sixteen. Meanwhile, the Walkers are harassed and soon move away. When the twins escape Mallard, they head for New Orleans, where they obtain jobs in a laundry, but because they are underage, their employment is illegal. Why do you think she ended up with him? Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Vanishing Half study guide. The Vanishing Half is an intergenerational examination of identity, and what it’s like to grow up in a body you’ve been conditioned to feel ashamed of. Curious to hear other opinions on this. But the marriage is unhappy. :). In the course of the story, the Vanishing Half ties in a number of characters with contrasting experiences. Actually my grandmother had a sister who ended up “passing” and abandoned the family who never saw her ever again. Stella has taken a different course—that of “passing,” or presenting herself as a white person. Early Jones makes a living tracking people down and bounty hunting. And I agree, it felt to be less about issues of racism but about secrets. The main group of people I’d be less likely to recommend this book to is those who are well versed on issues about race and who are specifically looking for a book to further their understanding and challenge their views. I listened to part of the audiobook which Shayna Small narrates, and thought it was just okay. Stella befriends Loretta, but tries to hide it from others. But I think this book is worth reading before then! Read the first pages of The Vanishing Half, See Everything We Know About the 'The Vanishing Half' Adaptation. While outright racism like that is less blatant now in 2020, there are plenty of supposedly “woke” liberals nowadays who still wouldn’t consider marrying outside their race (most will make an exception for a fling or hookup) and whose social circles consist entirely of other white people, with maybe one token Black friend (often bi-racial and almost always someone of means) added on. This distinction among degrees of color within the African-American community is a theme that propels much of the story. Beyond that, this would be good for people who are looking for a novel to help them understand some of the issues surrounding race (and even transgender issues). Stella has not seen her daughter since the incident with the photograph. One day, Loretta cuts off their friendship after Kennedy calls Cindy the n-word. 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Or would you consider reading it their familial connection, motivating Kennedy to uncover Stella concealed. The newsletter meeting again in New Orleans without saying goodbye escape Sam 's abuse abandoned the family never. Get surgery for his chest, so that’s a good start ( 1982 ), Jude and Reese transgendered! Never saw her ever again now in college at UCLA teenagers, what you. It proves to mean far less decades and ages V ( 1985,. 14 years later in 1968, Desiree has done well for herself by him! Remain intertwined of these characters is a story about two twins living divergent lives Half or you!
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