Art & Life

Does anyone really know who they are?

CONTRIBUTED: Brit Bennett’s newest novel, “The Vanishing Half,” makes readers believe that life’s pursuit of finding oneself always involves some form of vanishing.  

A generational novel written from the perspective of the women in the Vignes family from southern Louisiana from the early 60s to the 90s, “The Vanishing Half” captivates audiences from the opener to its closing line. 

Not an escape from reality but a boldly raw and unfiltered dive into what it takes to be uniquely who you want to be by giving up half of who you are, “The Vanishing Half” is a must read for those privileged enough to not need to run, and a validating read for those on the run. 

Weaving tales of self-discovery through race, place, gender and socioeconomics, Bennett pulls readers into a world where one’s identity, if revealed, could mean the end of their lives. With high stakes abound for each character, Bennett draws the reader in by developing the character’s vulnerabilities and intertwining storylines of family members. With nuance that the reader cannot help but be captivated by, each chapter and each character beg to be understood. 

The diversity of cast and the historical accuracy of violence and discrimination in the mid 20th Century America for racial and gender minorities in America was a captivating subject to be told in the current socio-political environment in America. The reader is forced to ask if much has changed in the last 70 years or not, a question answered by Bennett throughout the novel.  

Categories: Art & Life, Contributed