Ep. 8: Roy, Celestial and Don’t Forget About Dre: Tayari Jones’ “An American Marriage”

Tayari Jones

New York Times best-selling author, Tayari Jones, is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage . 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. Silver Sparrow was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forwardwith hope and paininto the future.


Do you hear what I hear? Yup — THE DRIP is back and this time you can actually hear us talking! In this episode, the Spoilers work through how to think about representations of sexual violence in the wake of Kavanaugh; they talk marriage, mass incarceration, race and masculinity, and creepy Roy dolls; and they resist the desperate urge to line up on Team Roy or Team Celestial (no Team Dre).

This gem is packed full of delectable moments, mostly because it’s the second time we’ve talked about this novel. You won’t hear the first because no one could hear us over the raucous crowd at Heritage when we first tried to record this episode a couple weeks ago. This time we took it all back home to a quiet place, and if we don’t say so, we are a little more thoughtful, generally brilliant, and much easier on the ears. Listen all the way to the end for the added treat of a sweet outtake from our first recording effort at Heritage — that’s right, it’s Crystal rocking an impromptu performance of “Sorry” from FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/ WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF during sound check. It is so worth it.


  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin 
  • Penumbra Theatre’s production of “For Colored Girls/When the Rainbow is Enuf”

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