Book Reviews The Vanishing Half
“Lord", Lou said. “I never seen a child that black before."
This work of fiction is about a set of twins and the role their daughters play in constructing a reconciliation of sorts. Some of the themes do require mature understanding; the book references Alzheimer’s, domestic violence, shadism within Black communities, structural racism towards African Americans and gender reassignment. Set over the course of 20 odd years, it tells of the emotional consequences of its character Stella, who decides to “pass” due to her European appearance in order “to be free" - and the impact this act causes on her psychology, family and puzzled twin sister.
I found that the novel started off at a pace but increasingly “dragged” as it twisted and turned - making the daughters of Stella and Desiree Vignes (Kennedy & Jude respectively) the evolving protagonists.
I found little humour but a great degree of passion in the writing. An engrossing read but one I was glad to finally finish due to the number of conflicted characters involved.