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Silver Sparrow Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 24, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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"A love story... full of perverse wisdom and proud joy....Jones's skill for wry understatement never
wavers."—O, The Oprah Magazine
(O Magazine )
“If your mom is a fan of emotionally charged morality tales (and whose mom isn’t?), she’s going to devour Tayari Jones’s third novel, Silver Sparrow, in a single sitting. Jones, a native Atlantan, once again mines her town for material and strikes serious pay dirt. Sparrow introduces us to sisters Dana Lynn Yarboro and Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon, who were born four months apart from different mothers and have never met. One reason? Their father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist who has gone to great pains to ensure they remain in the dark about each other. And when they do meet, that’s when Sparrow gets really good.”—Essence
“A graceful and shining work about finding the truth.” – Library Journal, starred review
(Library Journal )
“A tense, layered and evocative tale...Jones explores the rivalry and connection of siblings, the meaning of beauty, the perils of young womanhood, the complexities of romantic relationships and the contemporary African-American experience.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minneapolis Star Tribune )
“Impossible to put down until you find out how these sisters will discover their own versions of family.”—Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times )
“It’s an amazing, amazing read.”—Jennifer Weiner on NBC’s “The Today Show” (The Today Show )
“Silver Sparrow is rich, substantive, meaningful. It is also, at turns, funny and sharp, haunting and heartbreaking.”—The Root (The Root )
“Absorbing . . . Jones writes dialogue that is realistic and sparkling, with an intuitive sense of how much to reveal and when.”--Washington Post (Washington Post )
“Tayari Jones's immensely pleasurable new novel pulls off a minor miracle... Subtly exploring the power of labels... Jones crafts an affecting tale about things, big and small, we forfeit to forge a family. There are no winners in this empathetic and provocative story, only survivors.”—MORE (More )
“Charting a vast emotional unknown is Tayari Jones's compelling third novel, Silver Sparrow, in which a teenage girl's coming of age in 1990s Atlanta is shadowed by her dawning understanding of a corrosive secret – her father's second family.” – Vogue (Vogue )
“Nakedly honest...dazzlingly charged” —Atlanta Journal Constitution (Atlanta Journal Constitution )
“This is a heartbreaking story of two sisters, unknown to each other at first, who find and love each other for a short time in their lives.” – The Oklahoman (The Oklanhoman )
“This is a precisely written, meticulously controlled work. It’s also one that leaves room for the messiness of fragmented lives — an impressive command of the craft at hand, and its paradoxes.”—Vol. 1 Brooklyn (Vol. 1 Brooklyn )
“Beautifully written, Silver Sparrow will break your heart.”—Brooklyn Rail (Brooklyn Rail )
“[Jones] is fast defining middle-class black Atlanta the way Cheever did Westchester” – Village Voice (Village Voice )
More About the Author
Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, is a coming of age story set during the city's infamous child murders of 1979-81. Jones herself was in the fifth grade when thirty African American children were murdered from the neighborhoods near her home and school. When asked why she chose this subject matter for her first novel, she says, "This novel is my way of documenting a particular moment in history. It is a love letter to my generation and also an effort to remember my own childhood. To remind myself and my readers what it was like to been eleven and at the mercy of the world. And despite the obvious darkness of the time period, I also wanted to remember all that is sweet about girlhood, to recall all the moments that make a person smile and feel optimistic."
Leaving Atlanta received many awards and accolades including the Hurston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction. It was named "Novel of the Year" by Atlanta Magazine, "Best Southern Novel of the Year," by Creative Loafing Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Washington Post both listed it as one of the best of 2002. She has received fellowships from organizations including Illinois Arts Council, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, The Corporation of Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, Arizona Commission on the Arts and Le Chateau de Lavigny.
Her second novel, The Untelling, published in 2005, is the story of a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident. When asked why she chose to focus on a particular family in this work after the sprawling historical subject matter of Leaving Atlanta, Tayari Jones explains, "The Untelling is a novel about personal history and individual and familial myth-making. These personal stories are what come together to determine the story of a community, the unoffical history of a neighborhood, of a city, of a nation." Upon the publication of The Untelling, Essence magazine called Jones, "a writer to watch." The Atlanta Journal Constitution proclaims Jones to be "one of the best writers of her generation." In 2005, The Southern Regional council and the University of Georgia Libraries awarded The Untelling with the Lillian C. Smith Award for New Voices.
The Silver Girl, her highly anticipated third novel, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. An excerpt has been published in Calaloo. Tayari Jones debuted the piece as a headline reader at the conference of the Associated Writers Conference in Atlanta.
Tayari Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, The University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She has taught at Prairie View A&M University, East Tennessee State University, The University of Illinois and George Washington University. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University. She was recently named as the 2008 Collins Fellow by the United States Artists Foundation.
Top Customer Reviews
Silver Sparrow is the story of two daughters, Dana Lynn Yarboro and Chaurisse Witherspoon, the bigamist father they share, James Witherspoon, his might-as-well-be brother and shadow Raleigh, and the mothers of the two girls, Gwendolyn and Laverne. The backdrop is black, middle class Atlanta during the 1980s but there's also a lot of really interesting and difficult historical context brought into the novel to help explain how the adults, in particular, came to such a complicated pass. The writing is subtle, elegant and the exceptional attention to detail really elevates this book.Read more ›
I guess every fiction book (or diet book, but that's another story), from Shakespear and Tolstoy on down is about people whose lives are in some way train wrecks - or you would have no plot, no conflict. So why were these train wrecks so unsatisfying?
The book was very well written, Dana and Chaurisse were compelling, sympathetic and well drawn, the story full of twists and turns and an original plot building up to a final confrontation, and the dialogue especially good. So why didn't this work for me?
This book felt like the kind of friend's divorce I'm sure everybody has seen - when it first erupts you're sympathetic, fascinated, supportive and frankly kinda nosy. But say the friend never grows and moves on, but continues to have the same fights with the ex for the next twenty years (with different incidents, but basically the same fights), and after awhile it gets dull and repetitious and when the subject comes up you zone out and while you still may make sympathetic noises when she talks, you're sympathy is pretty much dead.
Here, the train just kept wrecking, over and over, and the characters just kept having the same conflicts and fights and issues, and never seemed to grow or develop. Despite all the drama nothing really seemed to happen- and in the end, the daughters appear to be essentially replaying the train wrecks of their parents' lives, with a few changes in the details.
Sometimes this can be a very powerful statement (Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises) but here it just got tiresome. I kept thinking this novel begged for some kind of growth, change, or development in the characters, but it just didn't happen.
So despite the good writing, for me in the end the book fell flat.
These are people with children, jobs and commitments, upstanding citizens in nearly every sense of the word, the only difference being that they sustain a strange, dual family system --- a system that inherently requires deception and is forced upon the children. It is done in order to preserve the daily harmony and protect the feelings of others, yet as the psychological strain builds (and we know it must), it becomes all-too clear that the ones who are hurt are always the innocents.
Bigamy is the subject of this unusual story told in SILVER SPARROW, covering the life of a bigamist husband and dual father. James Witherspoon is a middle-aged African American man who has lived his lie for two decades. His story begins innocently with his daughter's recollections of her own illegitimacy. Dana describes her parents' affair in full detail, including what it's been like for her through the years. She has been kept a secret all her life. Dana's mother originally confided their story to her daughter years ago, telling of her affair directly and honestly. Dana understands their reasons and relates to the longings of a lonely heart. She believes it happened out of the blue, and though it was certainly a dishonest act, she recognizes that it wasn't premeditated at all. It seemed to happen very naturally, though resulted in a pairing that could not be recognized and would lead to a life of disasters and hurts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a great read! I have known many families like this in which the father has more than one family. This book tells both sides and includes all characters point of view. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Samantha Carr
A beautifully told story! Flawlessly told through the eyes of brave girl who only wants what's rightfully hers....unconditional transparent love from her father.Published 24 days ago by Andrea
I really want to know more about the characters. I feel like this great big thing happened and you never get any resolution. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Felicia Franks
I enjoyed reading this book, it hit close to home for me. The characters were portrayed well in this book and I like how the author told both sides of the sisters story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ShunShyne
The third novel by Tayari Jones, Silver Sparrow, is set, like her previous two novels, in Atlanata, her birthplace and childhood home. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is not my usual type of book, seemed too close to reality. Would not have liked to have been in situation presented in this tale, but once you start reading it it's hard to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by beverly harris
This book was a refreshing, comedic, suspenseful journey about two sisters, the situations that created them and the choices made to prevent them from finding out the truth. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lisa Ross