The Vanishing Half is a stunning novel about family, community and racial identity.
The Vignes sisters: Desiree and Stella are identical twins, light-skinned black girls who grew up poor in the deep South. Their father was shot and killed by white men in the 1950s. As teens the sisters had dreamed of a different life for themselves and at the age of 16 they decide to leave home.
It isn't long before their lives take separate paths. Stella leaves Desiree in New Orleans in hopes of a more perfect life and, although initially unintended, Stella lives life as a white woman, a life built on secrets about her past. She marries a white man and has a white-skinned daughter. Meanwhile, Desiree, never stops missing her twin sister, losing contact with her but hoping that they will somehow, sometime reconnect. Desiree marries as well, to a black man, and despite a bad marriage to a violent man, feels blessed to have a daughter, Jude, a very dark-skinned girl.
The story which spans several decades is told from the POV of the twin sisters and later the POV of their 2 daughters, Jude and Kennedy. A multi-layered, character driven novel about sibling relationships, identity, race, class, transgender sexuality, prejudice and more. The author does an amazing job with her characters, who are difficult to forget. This is one of those books that will stay with me a long time. So much to discuss; be sure to recommend it for a book discussion. I loved it.
5 star read