A man has two families in the same town. One know about the other; the other doesn’t. Which family does the man love most? The family to whom he confides everything, thus hurting it in the process? Or the family to whom he tells nothing, allowing it to live in ignorant normality, but always with the possibility of a terrible surprise.
Tayari Jones, author of the novels “Leaving Atalnta” and the “Untelling” has chosen an unusual structure to reveal her story of two African-American teenage girls sharing the same father in the same Georgia town. Dana Yarboro knows the truth and feels she is a secret. Chaurisse Witherspoon, who spends a lot of time in her mother’s beauty parlor believes she has a normal family, While other writers might have chosen a back and forth narrative- first Dana, then Chaurisse then Dana ect- Jones gives us almost Dana’s story in part one, then all of Chaurisse’s in part two. The effect is subtly devasting when Dana begins to intrude upon Chaurisse’s narrative, deepening the reader’s interest; we understand it’s just a matter of time before the unknown becomes the known.
This is novel that is a reality in many families. This is not a surprise, it is sad that we are in an awe” about the subject matter, because this is a “norm” in a world of dysfunction. I look forward to understanding how James Witherspoon became a bigamist. I wonder why would a woman agree to this arrangement?
IYBC I am curious to know if the era they were living in at this time is a factor?
Show we be slow to judge the characters, maybe this is best they could do with their “lesser evils”
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.