From a luminous storyteller, a highly anticipated new novel about the American family writ large. Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to twenty-eight children, is having the mother of all midlife crises. His construction business is failing, his family has grown into an overpopulated mini-dukedom beset with insurrection and rivalry, and he is done in with grief: due to the accidental death of a daughter and the stillbirth of a son, he has come to doubt the capacity of his own heart. Brady Udall, one of our finest American fiction writers, tells a tragicomic story of a deeply faithful man who, crippled by grief and the demands of work and family, becomes entangled in an affair that threatens to destroy his family’s future. Like John Irving and Richard Yates, Udall creates characters that engage us to the fullest as they grapple with the nature of need, love, and belonging.
Beautifully written, keenly observed, and ultimately redemptive, The Lonely Polygamist is an unforgettable story of an American family—with its inevitable dysfunctionality, heartbreak, and comedy—pushed to its outer limits.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2010: EmNephiHelamanNaomiJosephinePaulineNovellaParleyGale... When times get tense--and they often do--for Golden Richards, the title patriarch of Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist, he turns to a soothing chant of the names, in order, of his 28 children. (It's also practical, when he needs to sort out just which toddler is showing him a scab, and which teen is asking if he can come to her 4-H demo.) While Big Love seeks the inherent soap opera in a man with many wives, Udall finds the slapstick: Golden's houses are the sort of places where the dog is often wearing underwear and a child or two likely isn't. But Udall doesn't settle just for jokes (though the jokes are excellent). Golden may be hapless, distracted, and deceitful, but he is large-hearted and so is his story. There's menace and more than a full share of tragedy there, as well as unabashed redemption and a particular sympathy for the loneliest members of this crowded family. With a fresh and faultless ear for American vernacular, Udall's big tale of beset manhood effortlessly earns its comparisons to tragicomic family classics from The Corrections to John Irving. --Tom Nissley