Issa Rae Options Tayari Jones’ Novel Silver Sparrow, Which Follows the Daughters of a Bigamist

(L-R): Issa Rae and Tayari Jones attend the 50th NAACP Image Awards on March 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
(L-R): Issa Rae and Tayari Jones attend the 50th NAACP Image Awards on March 30, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

Imagine having one book in the hottest book club known to man and named-checked by the Obamas—and then, having another book being optioned for adaptation. Well, Tayari Jones doesn’t have to imagine it—she’s living it!


Best known for the 2018 bestseller An American Marriage, Jones’ 2011 novel, Silver Sparrow has been optioned by Issa Rae, who will be attached to the project as a producer, reports LitHub (confirmed by Publisher’s Marketplace).

Per the novel’s synopsis on GoodReads:

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.

“There is no one better equipped to tell the stories of young black women than Issa Rae,” Jones told The Root. “She knows all our complexities. She sees our pain and our promise. I could not be more thrilled.”

Silver Sparrow is Jones’ third novel. Her most recent novel, An American Marriage, was chosen as a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club selection.



That’s a really good book too. I can see that translating well (especially with the right folks behind it).