Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

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Synopsis

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle.

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode. This is the third stunning novel from an author deemed “one of the most important writers of her generation” (the Atlanta Journal Constitution).
 

About Tayari Jones

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Tayari Jones is the author of two previous novels. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. She serves on the MFA faculty at Rutgers and blogs on writing at www.tayari jones.com/blog.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Algonquin Books. 353 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Silver Sparrow

Kirkus Reviews

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While James, who visits regularly if never often enough, and Gwen, a practical nurse, make sure Dana has every middle-class advantage, Dana grows up aware that her parents’ “marriage” is a secret and that she cannot openly claim her father;

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Publishers Weekly

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A coming-of-age story of sorts, Jones's melodramatic latest (after The Untelling) chronicles the not-quite-parallel lives of Dana Lynn Yarboro and Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon in 1980s Atlanta. Both gi

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

NPR

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Novelist Tayari Jones explores a father's deception of his family, while historian David McCullough looks at 19th-century Americans in Paris, Roy Blount Jr. revels in verbal curiosities, writer Bill James reflects on true-crime stories, and journalist Diana Henriques probes the Ponzi scheme of Be...

May 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Book Reporter

While Dana and her mother have been expressly forbidden to associate or speak to James's legitimate family, Dana has become intensely curious and jealous, making her brave enough to finally approach them.

May 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Los Angeles Times

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Their mothers' lives are separate, but Dana (the unacknowledged, the placated, the secret, the silver) is fierce in her desire to know her half-sister Chaurisse (not secret, not silver), and she befriends Chaurisse in a tense, fascinating series of events.

Jul 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Washington Independent Review of Books

Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones’s third novel, begins: “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” immediately drawing the reader into this engrossing and wry novel about the two families of James Witherspoon.

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Denver Post

"Now people can say, 'My mother was a single mother, and she's my hero.' People respect that."

Jul 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

About.com Bestsellers

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones was released in May 2011 Publisher: Algonquin Books 352 Pages 'Silver Sparrow' by Tayari Jones - Book Review"When people think of bigamy, if they think of it at all, they imagine some primitive practice taking place on the pages on National Geographic...

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Chicago Tribune

Dana and Gwendolyn know about Chaurisse and Laverne, but Chaurisse and Laverne have no idea Dana and Gwendolyn even exist.

Sep 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

NJ.com

James and Raleigh operate a limousine service, so when James arrives for his weekly meal with his teenage “outside child” and her mom, he is nattily dressed.

Oct 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Chicago Sun Times

While other writers might have chosen a back-and-forth narrative — first Dana, then Chaurisse, then Dana, etc.

Jun 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Red Room

The heavily mourned death of Miss Bunny, who raised the bigamist and Raleigh as brothers, has repercussions throughout the novel.

Dec 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Newcity Lit

As they get to know each other and forge the beginnings of a friendship, Chaurisse feels a connection with Dana that she cannot explain, and Dana is troubled by the dilemma of harming her sister with the truth, or perpetuating the lie their father is too cowardly to correct.

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Southern Lit Review

Of course the two girls meet, despite their father’s efforts to keep Dana and her mother hidden from his other family, and that’s when Tayari Jones masterfully weaves the stories together to form a masterpiece.

Oct 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

And when the novel switches narrators halfway through, Jones uses this skillfully, producing tension from the gulf between Chaurisse’s more limited perspective and what we’ve already learned from Dana.

May 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Silver Sparrow

Reader Rating for Silver Sparrow
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