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The Lonely Polygamist

A Novel
Udall, Brady (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Lonely Polygamist
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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.
Authors: Udall, Brady
Title: The lonely polygamist
a novel
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 602 p. : geneal. table ; 25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
ISBN: 0393062627
9780393062625
Branch Call Number: FIC UDALL 2010
Statement of Responsibility: Brady Udall
Subject Headings: Families Fiction Bereavement Psychological aspects Fiction Polygamy Fiction Middle-aged men Fiction
Topical Term: Families
Bereavement
Polygamy
Middle-aged men
LCCN: 2009052226
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From the critics


Library Staff

List - 6820701 by: YourNext5f Jul 09, 2011

A big, sprawling (but not at all messy or meandering) novel full of compassion and characters you'll feel you know well.


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Jul 09, 2014
  • jenna_ann rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Oh the lonely polygamist begs mercy for his hopeless naivete. I enjoyed this book and would pass it on.

Jun 23, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This was a very interesting read. Presenting polygamy from all angles - the wives, the husband and the children. What you see is humanity in all its doubts and complexities and people at the end of the day trying to do their best in the environment they find themselves. I felt exhausted by just imagining what it must be like to live in this family. Well worth a read.

Jul 11, 2012
  • hollyheartsYA rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was an excellent choice for book club! I liked how it focused in depth on enough characters, but not too many, to give us a view of this family relationship from all angles: Golden, the husband; Trish, the fourth wife; and Rusty, one of the 28 children. Rusty and Trish definitely made the book for me. Their chapters were emotional. Though I don't know that much about polygamy I felt like the characters were written very realistically, because in the end, we are all just humans, complex and many-varied. The flow of the writing was very well done as well, as I often read more YA novels, sometimes adult literary novels are hard to get through, but this one read very easily.

Jul 10, 2012
  • orphicfiddler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was at Boise State University - the very place that Udall teaches - the year this was published, and somehow didn't get around to reading it until now. I am, of course, thoroughly regretting the fact that I did not take one of his writing courses. The book, anyhow, is an unusual and enjoyable take on the midlife crisis, as told from the perspective of Golden Richards (a polygamist in Utah), Trish (Golden's young and restless third wife), and Rusty (one of Golden's 28 lonely kids).

Dec 20, 2011
  • halgeon rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Wonderful, character-driven novel. I was engrossed in the story and the genuine, human frailties of all the main characters. Highly recommend this book.

I couldn't get into this book.

It has great reviews, so I was looking forward to being blown away, but I forced myself through about 100 pages and still didn't want to continue on, so I simply returned it.

I'm not sure if it was perhaps my own bias, but I simply had no interest in the main character (the man).
Perhaps if I had gotten further in, where they apparently explore the wives, it could have gripped me.

Sep 12, 2011
  • smc01 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book - the characters, the writing, the story line. It is at turns laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking, and keeps you guessing about what could possibly happen next. Highly recommended.

Jun 24, 2011
  • abroomfi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Lonely Polygamist is one of the few novels I have read recently that held my attention. I never had the impression that Udall himself quite knew how to work out the extraordinarily tangled plots he created until almost to the novel's climax, when Rusty detonates the firecracker/bomb. As a result, I could not easily predict the outcome of Golden's midlife crisis and his family's feuds and battles. Like many people, I picked up the book because I am curious about how a polygamist lifestyle might work. I was at first dismayed that it is set in the 1970s, but the more I read, the more I saw the brilliance of Udall's decision. The backdrop of Cold War politics, '70s social liberalism, and the various survivalist cults and ideologies that defined the Southwest during this era was perfect for the novel's plot as it unfolded.

While Beverly is never given her own point of view, I was most drawn to this first wife and how her own sins and foibles ultimately allow her to become human to the rest of her sister-wives and the children. Trish, I felt, was a weak character, even though Udall gives her a point of view. Rose-of-Sharon was so believable in her frailty and her final courage when Rusty is near death. Nola's story, that of her teenage "date" and the nuclear fallout that takes her hair, was probably the one that will stick with me the longest. Golden himself is one of the most original protagonists I have encountered in a long time.

Kudos to Udall for a brilliant, must-read-again novel.

Apr 18, 2011
  • jacobsikora rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Three different people at different stages of development make up the bulk of this story. I especially loved the chapters written from Rusty's perspective, one of the kids. Golden's saga, the patriarch, drags at times but does work to create a deeply sympathetic character. Trish, the youngest wife, provides a third prominent perspective and a unique saga of her own. Overall a great read, and I wish I'd read it before ever watching Big Love as it was hard at times not to associate the characters from this book with that show.

Apr 03, 2011
  • nikistorr rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The best book I've read in ages.

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/29 09:56