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Extended Audio Sample Silver Sparrow Audiobook, by Tayari Jones Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (20,610 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tayari Jones Narrator: Rosalyn Coleman-Williams, Heather Alicia Simms Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9781482980646
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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 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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A love story…Full of perverse wisdom and proud joy…Jones’ skill for wry understatement never wavers.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Charting a vast emotional unknown is Tayari Jones’ 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

  • “Absorbing…Jones writes dialogue that is realistic and sparkling, with an intuitive sense of how much to reveal and when.”

    Washington Post

  • “[Jones] is fast defining middle-class black Atlanta the way Cheever did Westchester.”

    Village Voice

  • “Impossible to put down until you find out how these sisters will discover their own versions of family.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Nakedly honest…Dazzlingly charged.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “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

  • “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.”

    Oklahoman

  • “[An] expansive third novel…Jones effectively blends the sisters’ varied, flawed perspectives as the characters struggle with presumptions of family and the unwieldy binds of love and identity.”

    Booklist

  • “Jones beautifully evokes Atlanta in the 1980s while creating gritty, imperfect characters whose pain lingers in the reader’s heart.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “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

  • Selected for the June 2011 Indie Next List
  • A Top 10 2011 Library Journal Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leila Rice | 2/19/2014

    " This is an interesting novel about two sisters who share the same father; he is married to both of their mothers at the same time. One sister knows that her father is a bigamist, while the other is raised in ignorance of this fact.... Of course, the reader knows that this secret must eventually be revealed. For me, "Silver Sparrow" was an emotional page-turner. I didn't find the ending terribly satisfying, and the author left some questions unanswered. But it is a good, solid read with an excellent premise and richly-drawn characters. I always love a well-written story about complicated family dynamics! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth S. | 2/15/2014

    " The end is so sudden that it felt unfinished. Otherwise, I felt the characters exceeding well-drawn and fascinatingly imperfect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobias | 1/30/2014

    " Review forthcoming on Vol.1. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yume Katoya | 12/28/2013

    " *no spoilers* I haven't been this moved by a book in a long time. It's been an even longer time since I felt so much simultaneous disdain and pity for a books characters. This is a very complex story. There is SO much I want fo sa but since I despise spoilers I will refrain from doing it here. But I would love to engage any of you who've read it in discussion elsewhere. All in all, a wonderful read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trishaladd | 12/26/2013

    " I really enjoyed it. Something totally different. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dionne Ferguson | 12/23/2013

    " The first moments of the book had me on a roller coaster of emotions, and I couldn't, wouldn't get off until the end. Thank you Tayari for a ride full of characters and situations of depth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 12/20/2013

    " This was a different book for me. At times it was slow, other times engrossing and the end brought it all together. I'm not sure if I liked the ending or not, but yet I'm not sure how it could have ended any differently. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Veronica | 10/30/2013

    " This book was great, but boy am I pissed off at James.....lol "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie Kellman | 9/12/2013

    " I really liked this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shelly Busse | 8/22/2013

    " A worthy read. Again I wished there were a 1/2 star rating avialable - this was a 3 1/2 to for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 8/21/2013

    " Kim recommended this one. It was very interesting, half written from the perspective of one half of a man's family, and half from the other half. Dark. I guess the point is what a difference your perspective can make. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dana | 8/21/2013

    " I was a bit disappointed with this book. Harvard Bookstore heavily promoted it - hence the reason I bought it. It was ok but I would say nothing special. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tdubb | 8/21/2013

    " hated the ending...i'm starting to realize, i like a nice tidy bow at the end of my books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal | 5/16/2013

    " My heart ached for Dana, always knowing she was second. I couldn't imagine. I did not like the end, but the rest of the story was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole N | 2/8/2013

    " I enjoyed this book and I recommend it. I think it has high potential for LOTS of discussion, which is a good thing! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tonya | 12/4/2012

    " Sad that this thing actually happens. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roger Market | 11/2/2012

    " It's been wonderful watching Tayari's craft mature. This might be her best novel yet. Can't wait for the next one! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 10/7/2012

    " This book really held my interest all the way through. I found the characters to be real and enjoyed getting to know them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla | 9/14/2012

    " Really good story, both of the daughters are characters that I empathized with for different reasons. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kellie | 12/26/2011

    " I made it about 2/3rds of the way through this before my book club met. What I read was okay, but not good enough for me to continue after hearing the rest of it from my friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 11/19/2011

    " Started slow but very compelling and then couldn't put it down; loved the last third. Very end kind of disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claudette | 9/30/2011

    " Beautifully painful. Both daughters have distinct voices that the shared narration highlights. It just seems genuine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 7/7/2011

    " An engrossing, well written book with two very interesting heroines. Can't wait to read more by the author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tonya | 6/22/2011

    " This is a really good book - I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 6/11/2011

    " Really loved this story! It grabbed me on the first page and I couldn't leave it alone (when I wasn't working)! If I hadn't heard the author interviewed on NPR before reading the book, I would have thought she was one of the characters! One of my new favorites! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peg | 6/10/2011

    " So far, best book of Summer 2011! If you liked "The Help", you will enjoy this 1960's Atlanta, Georgia story between two teens with much more in common than they know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beverly | 6/8/2011

    " I have to think about this book for a while. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 6/6/2011

    " Heard about this on NPR and was curious, definitely works for teen readers-interesting characters and premise of what secrets it takes to make a family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ksab | 6/4/2011

    " Excellent writing- A sensitive subject -"outside families"-where everyone's life is filled with loss and compromise! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roger | 6/3/2011

    " It's been wonderful watching Tayari's craft mature. This might be her best novel yet. Can't wait for the next one! "

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About the Author
Author Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and An American Marriage, a New York TImes bestseller. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, the Believer, the New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. She is a graduate of Spelman College, the University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

About the Narrators

Rosalyn Coleman Williams is the director of the award-winning short film Allergic to Nuts. She is a 2003 Fox Fellow Award winner and was nominated for a 2006 Barrymore Award for Best Actress for her performance in Intimate Apparel at the Philadelphia Theater Company. Her film credits include Vanilla Sky, Our Song, and Music of the Heart. Rosalyn is a member of New York Women in Film and Television, the East Coast Writers Collective, and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

Heather Alicia Simms is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator, finalist for an Audie Award, and an actress. Her filmography includes Broken Flowers, Flutter Kick, Shock Act, Kingscounty, Head of State, Third Watch, and others. She also provided voice acting for the video game Red Dead Revolver.