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77. The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half is the latest book read by both Laura and Kate’s book clubs, and tells the story of two black identical twins, Stella and Desiree, whose lives diverge dramatically when Stella leaves everything behind to pass as a white woman in 1950s America.

2019 Booker winner Bernadine Evaristo is a fan. ‘The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel. It seduces with its literary flair, surprises with its breath-taking plot twists, delights with its psychological insights, and challenges us to consider the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives.’ It comes highly recommended, then, but what did our book clubs think?

Book recommendations

A Drop of Patience by William Melvin Kelley

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Passing by Nella Larson


View this fascinating Guardian short film about a small town where the residents identify as black, even thought they look white.

Read the Sarah Resnick article in the New Yorker on the literature of passing that we discuss in the episode.


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