The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett [8/10]

A family saga of sorts, “The Vanishing Half” addresses the American race issue with a stunning plot idea. Twins from a tiny, southern black town run away from home, one returning with a black daughter, the other passing for white when she marries into money. Spanning two generations and four decades from the 1950s, the novel delves into the corrosive effects of racism and the accommodations people make. The twins themselves are such captivating stars of the novel, both deeply alive on the page, but four other emerging major characters are also well portrayed. The author is a supremely confident plotter and stylist, and for a weighty story, the pace rockets along. Nothing pans out as any reader might imagine but everything falls into a wonderfully intricate tapestry. Somehow The Vanishing Half manages to simultaneously remain engaging, tackle multiple social and political issues, and sinuously twist as a narrative. A triumph.

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