(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.). 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 befriends Loretta, but tries to hide it from others. She was depressed after the Walkers left and ended up going back to school. She meets and falls for Reese, a southern boy who is transgendered. One night at work, she sees a woman (Stella) and the shock makes her drop a bottle of wine. When dismissed from this work, the two go in opposite directions. 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. As I was reading it, the resounding question through all of these disparate yet similar obstacles was, why should any of this be necessary? You can take a listen to the clip on Amazon to see if it appeals to you, but it wasn’t to my taste personally. “The Vanishing Half” answers all these questions in this exquisite story of love, survival and triumph. There’s not a lot of filler, which I generally prefer, and the plot moves forward at a pretty steady clip. Follow along on Goodreads, or keep in touch via the newsletter. Lisa Page is co-editor of “We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America.” (The Detailed Plot Summary is also available, below). I didn’t understand the last sentence and it’s significance. 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. Jude’s story is that of a dark-skinned young woman coming of age and discovering her identity. 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. This distinction among degrees of color within the African-American community is a theme that propels much of the story. Stella has taken a different course—that of “passing,” or presenting herself as a white person. I very much enjoyed this book the whole way through. The Vanishing Half explores themes of race, family, and identity. 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). This novel is getting a LOT of buzz, so that’s a good start. Kennedy moves to Europe. A conversation with Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half Q. They go to work for the wealthy Duponts, and Mr. Dupont sexually abuses Stella. As a dark-skinned girl who grew up with only light-skinned Black people, she has been bullied and excluded her whole life. 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. 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. It’s a multilayered story about identity, family and the secrets we keep. Very sad scenario, regardless of the story. 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! That might sound pejorative, but please trust me, I don’t mean it to. In the course of the story, the Vanishing Half ties in a number of characters with contrasting experiences. Log in here. And why do you think Stella still wants to hide her past from her husband after going through all this? 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. 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. She meets and marries a man named Sam Winston. I more or less read it straight through, with some breaks to run errands, eat and walk my dog. The Vanishing Half is a rich, extravagant fairy tale of a book. 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.. Sam becomes abusive both verbally and physically. https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2019/01/movie-review-the-vanishing-2019 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. Jude and Reese are there for Reese's surgery. Kennedy grows up believing she is entirely white. The novel ends with Iris refusing to let go of Esme’s hand no matter what. The Killer in The Vanishing (1988, orig. Now, 14 years later in 1968, Desiree has returned home with her daughter to escape Sam's abuse. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! Book: The Vanishing Half Author: Brit Bennett Edition: Hardcover 2020. Stella reflects upon how easy it has been to carry off the deception. "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. Read the first pages of The Vanishing Half, See Everything We Know About the 'The Vanishing Half' Adaptation. 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. But I think this book is worth reading before then! It would be such a great book club book because of the perspectives it works into the narrative. I have recently read and reviewed this book too! I thought it was both hopeful (the daughters staying in touch, Jude and Reese being happy, Stella and Kennedy able to finally address the truth) and realistic (Agnes passing away and being buried in a still-segregated cemetery, Stella and Desiree get some form of reconciliation, but ultimately Stella stands by the decision she made so many years ago and can’t fathom changing her life now). There is a Black family (Reginald and Loretta Walker, with their daughter Cindy) moving into their neighborhood, to everyone's displeasure. 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. Did you like the way things were resolved. Why did Brit Bennett title her novel The Vanishing Half? As "The Vanishing" goes on, the film’s inklings of horror prove to make for a strange but too slow set of events. Jude and Kennedy get to know each other, but when Kennedy drunkenly insults Jude, Jude angrily tells her the truth about Stella and Mallard. One would think that Desiree has done well for herself by marrying him. 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 Part II (1968), we learn that Stella had married her boss, Blake Sanders, and they had moved away. A shame, really. In 1988, George Sluizer made a French-Belgian production, also called "The Vanishing," that was one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. On seeing Desiree again, Stella asks for forgiveness. There’s a brutal scene half-way through The Vanishing, director Kristoffer Nyholm’s “what if?” take on the Flannan Isle mystery. How did you manage to … In Part II (1978), Jude is now in college at UCLA. The Vanishing was released on 27 October 1988, and received positive reviews. 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. I just finished reading the book a few minutes ago, and I’m curious to know if you liked the ending? The Vanishing Half is a quintessential book club book. 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. Each of these characters is a product of their past and also is trying to make peace with their past as well. One day, Loretta cuts off their friendship after Kennedy calls Cindy the n-word. Desiree marries a dark-skinned man (Sam) and has a daughter, Jude. What did you think about the ending? You'll get access to all of the Passing to survive! The ending of the 1993 Americanization will also be spoiled, but that’s of far less consequence to mankind.] I always prefer when the author really ties everything up in a pretty bow (to my own fault). For my cocktail, I am making a White Russian. Reese wants to get surgery for his chest, so Jude gets a higher-paying catering job to help save money. Adele passes away, and Jude and Reese go home to attend the funeral. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Who did you sympathize or connect with more, Stella or Desiree? A lot of the characters have things about themselves they feel they have to hide from others. : Spoorloos), his primary motivation as per my understanding was to gauge himself to see if he could perform an act so evil compared to his act of saving the person who was drowning and because of that he decided to kill the girl whom he kidnaps from the gas station in the beginning of the movie. 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. Stella is now working as an adjunct professor. They are wealthy and have a blond-haired, violet-eyed daughter, Kennedy. The Vanishing Half author Brit Bennett sat down with Trevor Noah to discuss colorism, racial passing, and her thought process when writing the book. Many were left puzzled by the film's cryptic message. What do you think she was hoping to achieve or get out of it, and do you think it was worth it? 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. And Reese is transgendered, while Barry dresses in drag just a few nights a month. It’s a really, really good book that just happens to be a perfect storm of all the things that book clubs generally like. Perhaps it felt a little sudden, but I think it made sense. 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? 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. :). In Part V (1985), Kennedy and Jude end up meeting again in New York. In what ways are those challenges similar or different for characters such as Stella, Reese or Barry? Leave your thoughts below! Soon after, Kennedy finally decides to move home. As teenagers, what do you think drove Desiree and Stella’s desires to leave the town? Jude is still in touch with Kennedy and lets her know, though their mothers do not know they speak. 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. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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 … T he Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a 2020 novel about estranged twins Desiree and Stella Vignes and their daughters, Jude and Kennedy. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Already a member? For the next week, I'm hoping we'll be able to respond to these questions and build off of each other's responses. Why do you think the neighborhood loves the character that Reginald Walker plays on his television show, but still treats him so poorly? But the marriage is unhappy. It was also an unexpectedly effortless read, considering the somewhat heavy topics in the book. It seemed a little unfinished to me, but I tend to feel that way about any book that leaves any sort of loose ends. Meanwhile, the Walkers are harassed and soon move away. Jude realizes their familial connection, motivating Kennedy to uncover Stella's concealed past. If you were in their situation, what path do you think you would have chosen? Stella decides to pass as white, marrying a white businessman and moving to Los Angeles, where she, too, has a daughter. However, Stella asks Kennedy not to tell her father (Stella's not planning on changing her life). When Kennedy asks about the ring, Stella is happy she's back and tired of lying and finally tells her the full truth. Sam is a professional man, a lawyer. 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