Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Some stories just grab you by the gut and take you along for a damn good ride. In Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones, a writer of epic talent, ensures that her book does just this. I could *not* put this one down, so enthralled was I by the tale of two sisters, sisters with the same father; a man with two families. Indeed, we know the crux of the story from the very first line: ‘My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.’
Silver Sparrow is the most compelling kind of storytelling. I was so invested in the characters of this novel, one of twists and turns with two young girls at its centre. Set mainly in 1980s Atlanta, it is split into two parts, one told by each daughter — Dana and Chaurisse — both with such distinct voices, masterfully created by Jones. The former knows about the latter. The latter has no idea of the existence of her father’s other family. They are standing in very different places and I just *had* to know what happened to them both. I wanted to turn to the last page, often, but I never did.
It is a chance encounter at a science fair that brings Dana and Chaurisse together. They will become friends and we, the readers, will learn of the consequences of that connection.
Silver Sparrow was written before Jones’s much lauded An American Marriage, which won the @womensprize in 2019. I suspect you’ll devour this from beginning to end because you’ll come to know these characters — beautiful and flawed — and hold them close to your heart.
And, as an aside, do make sure you take note of Jones’ dedication at the front. The book is for her own parents, Barbara and Mack Jones ‘who, to the best of my knowledge, are married only to each other.’
Have you read this one? What did you think?