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The devastating effects of bigamy: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones, reviewed

4 April 2020

9:00 AM

4 April 2020

9:00 AM

Silver Sparrow Tayari Jones

Oneworld, pp.351, 16.99

Conservative estimates place the number of those in America with more than one spouse as up to 100,000, but the figure is much higher. Bigamy, which is outlawed in 50 states, takes place in secret, with only a handful of people knowing about it. ‘It’s a shame that there isn’t a true name for a woman like my mother Gwendolyn,’ says Dana Lynn Yarboro, the ‘other’ daughter of her father’s ‘other’ wife, in Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow, a novel that examines the multitudinous effects of bigamy — how it can extend families, break them, confuse identity and damage lives.

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