Quarantine Book Reads: The Vanishing Half & The Stationary Shop

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Good reads blurb: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

My take: 4 out of 5. I really don’t know how to grade this. There was such hype for this book and it is an incredibly written book. I was leaning towards a 4.5 rating and then the ending happen. I do say and then the ending just happened because it just does. I arrived to the acknowledgement page and felt robbed. like this it really going to end so anticlimactically after all this time and effort?. I was missing at least one chapter. But taking that away (which really frustrated me) this is a beautifully written story and quite an interesting conversation on race. Two twins, one living as a white woman and the other as a black woman allows for some very insightful social commentary. And even though it happens last century in the veil of segregation, some conversations are still relevant today. Its also very interestingly told through the 4 narrators, the two sisters and the two daughters which allow for great character exploration.

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali

Good reads blurb: A poignant, heartfelt new novel by the award-nominated author of Together Tea that explores loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate. Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink. Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran. Afew short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?

My take:4.5 out of 5. I casually landed on this book through one of the book bloggers i follow on Instagram and I am so happy I did. It is a beautiful little book. I love romance and epic stories in spectacular settings and this is exactly it. I felt like i was reading a Victoria Hislop novel, and if you read this blog you know I love her. The setting, Iran in mid last century, provides such a rich and colorful background to the story. I also loved the timing and storytelling. You know the ending from the beginning. However taking you back to that discovery process and untangling misconceptions and new clues is as fulfilling if not more that if you go from the start. I also love how its not a happily ever after story. Shit didn’t work out, the world collapsed and lovers weren’t together, yet that does not take away from the emotions and the experiences. If anything else does it add to it?

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