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3 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Silver Sparrow

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Silver Sparrow Cover

ISBN13: 9781565129900
ISBN10: 1565129903
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters — the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle — she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.

At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers — think Toni Morrison with The Bluest Eye — Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.

Review:

"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 girls — born four months apart — are the daughters of James Witherspoon, a secret bigamist, but only Dana and her mother, Gwen, are aware of his double life. This, Dana surmises, confers 'one peculiar advantage' to her and Gwen over James's other family, with whom he lives full time, though such knowledge is small comfort in the face of all their disadvantages. Perpetually feeling second best, 15-year-old Dana takes up with an older boy whose treatment of her only confirms her worst expectations about men. Meanwhile, Chaurisse enjoys the easy, uncomplicated comforts of family, and though James has done his utmost to ensure his daughters' paths never cross, the girls, of course, meet, and their friendship sets their worlds toward inevitable (and predictable) collision. Set on its forced trajectory, the novel piles revelation on revelation, growing increasingly histrionic and less believable. For all its concern with the mysteries of the human heart, the book has little to say about the vagaries of what motivates us to love and lie and betray. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

Silver Sparrow brings to mind John Irving in the ways it makes an epic story out of ordinary lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly all happen in this marvelously moving tale. Read this book! I can’t say it any more plainly than that.” Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine

Synopsis:

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a mans deception, a familys 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 Witherspoons 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 the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Jeffrey Ricker, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Jeffrey Ricker)
Stunning and beautiful, Silver Sparrow draws you in quietly at the beginning and keeps pulling you along breathlessly. Even when you know it will not end well, you can't resist. I wish every book I read could be this good.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Forgets, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Forgets)
This book opens with what seems like a spoiler, and explains itself away throughout the rest of the 350-something pages. “My father is a bigamist,” a girl tells us. And at first sight, that sentence told me what I needed to know about men in this book, and about the women "sisters and wives" who were being kept secret in each her own way. The story is divided in half, just like everything and everyone else in the book. Each half is narrated by one of the father’s two daughters, first Dana, then Chaurisse. Every single character here is torn, and yet there’s nothing similar or predictable about the voices we get to hear from. And what’s even better, the sisters and all the women in this book, even though they are set up to be rivals, really stick together. I was worried, when I saw that first line, about the stereotypes I expected to come, of fighting catty women and the pain of sharing a man of any kind, father or husband. No, although these women are in a mixed state of either knowing-but-not-caring, or knowing-and-in-pain, the main characters do reach out and take care of each other. And even worse, you manage to feel sorry for the bigamist, the daddy. James is a sad and ultimately pathetic man, who keeps one family in secret (a family who knows everything about him), and another family in public (a family that is missing a few crucial facts about their father). The idea of knowledge as privilege and simultaneous disadvantage plagues both halves of the novel. At first one might expect Chaurisse, the legitimate daughter, to benefit the most from having a known-father she lives with, but there is a sadness entering her half of the novel knowing something she doesn’t. How can she love a daddy she doesn’t really know? And Dana’s story, more frustrating in its nature, is having a father who is ashamed of her and will pay a high price to keep her and his mistress quiet.

Like most of Jones’s work, this book is set in Atlanta, Georgia, and it follows the lives of black young women in the 70s and 80s. I am not tired and will never tire of Jones’s characters
struggling in a way that hits so close to home. Silver Sparrow ties in the weight of the civil rights movement still controversial in the south, and sheds light on yet another dark spot of American history, illegitimate and alternative families, and the women affected by them. It is also a story about women of colour in which the characters have promising futures, and it touched me to see that although the sisters finally meet and the secret is found out, they have not lost hope even when few if any of their problems are resolved.
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columbo0808, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by columbo0808)
A wonderful novel from Tayari Jones that stay's with you long after the last page has been read. What an incredible talent!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781565129900
Author:
Jones, Tayari
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » General

Silver Sparrow Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Algonquin Books - English 9781565129900 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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 girls — born four months apart — are the daughters of James Witherspoon, a secret bigamist, but only Dana and her mother, Gwen, are aware of his double life. This, Dana surmises, confers 'one peculiar advantage' to her and Gwen over James's other family, with whom he lives full time, though such knowledge is small comfort in the face of all their disadvantages. Perpetually feeling second best, 15-year-old Dana takes up with an older boy whose treatment of her only confirms her worst expectations about men. Meanwhile, Chaurisse enjoys the easy, uncomplicated comforts of family, and though James has done his utmost to ensure his daughters' paths never cross, the girls, of course, meet, and their friendship sets their worlds toward inevitable (and predictable) collision. Set on its forced trajectory, the novel piles revelation on revelation, growing increasingly histrionic and less believable. For all its concern with the mysteries of the human heart, the book has little to say about the vagaries of what motivates us to love and lie and betray. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , Silver Sparrow brings to mind John Irving in the ways it makes an epic story out of ordinary lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly all happen in this marvelously moving tale. Read this book! I can’t say it any more plainly than that.”
"Synopsis" by ,
With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a mans deception, a familys 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 Witherspoons 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).
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