Several years ago, I had the honor of interviewingthe amazing Tayari Jones here on this blog. I had very few readers and even less knowledge about the publishing/marketing world than I have now, but still, Jones was gracious and gave me a great interview. Yet, I just finished reading her most recent novel Silver Sparrow, and I’m sad I waited so long.
The book is simply but brilliantly structured in that it’s told in two first-person sections, each narrated by a teenage girl – Dana and Chaurisse. The girls are half-sisters, fathered by the same man who is married – at the same time – to each of their mothers. So then bigamy becomes part of the story, but it’s not central. What is central is the way these young women feel unseen, unnoticed by the larger society.
The structure of the book lets us see the facts of their lives from Dana’s point of view and then from Chaurisse’s, and so Jones aptly reminds us that each of our lives is only one perspective, one interpretation on the same events.
The writing in the novel is superb – lyric and rhythmic without distracting from the story, and the characters are all flawed, some majestically so, but still, it’s possible to find compassion for each of them in the story.
Perhaps my favorite element of this book is that everything comes from the perspective of women. While two men – James and Raleigh – are key characters and, in some ways, the center of the novel’s conflict, we don’t hear from them on the pages. In this way, the book elevates the female point of view and, thus, does just a little bit of leveling when it comes to the way women are often silenced.
I can’t recommend the book highly enough.
Have you read Silver Sparrow? What did you think of it?