Recently, HBO won an auction where 17 bidders competed for the rights to adapt Brit Bennett’s praised novel The Vanishing Half. With the seven-figure deal, HBO will create a limited television series out of the novel, Deadline reports.
Receiving acclaim from critics, The Vanishing Half has been compared to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, with Bennett’s tone reminiscent of James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson (Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal).
The official synopsis, which is indeed captivating, reads:
“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. Many 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?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.”
The 30-year-old author tweeted her reaction to the news on Monday, saying, “So it’s been a wild month.”
Bennett will be an executive producer for the upcoming HBO series. Her debut book The Mothers also became a New York Times bestseller, and is currently being developed as a feature film by Kerry Washington.