Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Published by: One World Publications
Release Date: March 2020
Genre: Literary fiction
Source: Review Copy
‘My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.’
This is the story of a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle. James Witherspoon has two families, one public, the other a closely guarded secret. But when his daughters meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows the truth. Theirs is a relationship destined to explode.
Silver Sparrow is the stunning new novel from the critically acclaimed winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, one of the most important writers of her generation.
Silver Sparrow reveals the story of 2 families connected by a single patriarch. Narrated by the children within these related yet independent groups.
Dana is the child born who has to spend her life being the secret borne out of an illegal union. She has all the facts. Her father, James Witherspoon is a bigamist. He is also an asshole who makes his daughter bend her life choices to the whims of his primary family. Those who have no idea that he’s an asshole.
Chaurisse is the “little princess” who has her head in the clouds and quite naturally believes that her life is normal. She doesn’t have to move through life with the knowledge of her father belonging to another family unit. Her worries are pretty standard because of this.
My bias for my favorite daughter may be showing already but I enjoyed listening to both of their voices. I have never wondered what it was to be the “other woman” or family and I didn’t know that I needed that perspective. By default it seems, we are wired to be concerned about the people who were lied to, cheated on, etc.
Silver Sparrow makes it clear that very little is black & white and by weaving a tale worthy of any telenovela, Tayari Jones serves us layers built by love, betrayal, selfishness, desperation, family, denial and more.
My one gripe is that I wanted to hear more from Dana than Chaurisse when shit hit the fan. I wanted to hear her voice as she realized that her fantasies of sisterhood and unconditional love from her father were never going to happen.
Silver Sparrow is the best book I’ve read since Here Comes The Sun in the way that it speaks about family and how it can fuck you up.