"'Atlanta aint nothing but a country town"' (Jones 34).
It's almost as if Gwen knew it was going to happen. Perhaps she was a prophet. Maybe she was born with the gift of foresight. It's even possible she was merely sharing her words out of uncontrolled emotions. Regardless of her motivation, Gwen was right; Atlanta though a big city, was indeed small enough to feel and act just like a country town. The inevitable was bound to happen--and it did. The two daughters met, became friends and unknowingly broke free of the web of lies neither of them knew existed. The bigamy was exposed. The two families come face to face.
There is something quite sinister about country towns and secrets. It is no secret that county towns are often full of unspoken mysteries, buried stories, unmentioned family histories and the like. At the same time, it is also no secret that country towns always seem to be able to bare such secrets for so long. Eventually, truth comes to the surface. Secrets are unearthed. The keys to long held mysteries are revealed. This is the story of 'Silver Sparrow.' This is the role of Atlanta in Tayari Jones's third novel. While Atlanta, the city kept James Witherspoon's secret, Atlanta, the country town revealed it.
"'You've got to learn how to listen sideways to what people are saying to get at what they really mean"' (Jones 260). The same is true for the city of Atlanta. In other words, it is the recognition, and realization that the beloved ATL is as much a country town as it is a big city allowed Jones's characters, especially James Witherspoon, the bigamist, to confront the truth--to see what his actions really meant, to see what he really did.