Were it not for my trouble settling into it, The Vanishing Half would be, for me, a near-perfect book.
Do its character’s struggles ground readers concretely in those characters and how they choose to be (or not to be) defined by those challenges? Yes. Does the book juxtapose the nature of one’s personal identity against the expectations others—and society writ large—foist upon us? Absolutely. Does the novel’s author achieve all of this with a careful, steady hand that deftly navigates multiple points of view? You know it.
The Vanishing Half also fits neatly into the readerly niche I seem to have settled into this year, namely one of family sagas, separation, and longing to know oneself and those whose lives might have impacted our own—if only we’d known where to find them (or that they existed at all).
In The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett gifts readers a tale that will resonate well past the novel’s final page—if they’re willing to let the story take shape in the first sixty pages or so.