clock menu more-arrow no yes

The Vox Book Club pick for August is Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half is an exquisite dark fairy tale about passing for white.

If you buy something from a Vox link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

An illustration of The Vanishing Half cover and the Vox Book Club logo Zac Freeland/Vox

The Vox Book Club is linking to Bookshop.org to support local and independent booksellers.

This August, the Vox Book Club will be reading one of the best new novels of 2020: Brit Bennett’s exquisite The Vanishing Half. And at the end of the month, we’ll be joined by Bennett herself to discuss the book live on Zoom.

The Vanishing Half is a rich, extravagant fairy tale of a book. It concerns a set of twin sisters, Stella and Desiree, who grow up in an all-Black town where the population is devoted to ensuring that each successive generation has lighter skin than the one before it.

At 16, light-skinned Stella and Desiree run away. Desiree goes on to marry the darkest-skinned man she can find. And Stella starts passing for white.

There’s a lot to delve into here: the history of narratives of passing, the power of American fairy tales, the question of how we are bound by our bodies and our families. So, as we did in July, we’ll publish two book club discussion posts in August, both on Fridays. Each one will deal with different aspects of The Vanishing Half; we’ll have expert guest stars, and both posts will assume you’ve already read the whole book. (Consider this your spoiler warning!) Our virtual meeting with Bennett will happen August 27, and it will be a culmination of the whole month’s worth of conversation. I can’t wait to see you there.

Here’s the full Vox Book Club schedule for August 2020

Friday, August 14: First discussion post on The Vanishing Half

Friday, August 21: Second discussion post on The Vanishing Half

Thursday, August 27: Virtual live event with author Brit Bennett. RSVP now!