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The Lonely Polygamist [Paperback]

Brady Udall
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

6 May 2010
Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to twenty-eight children, is having the mother of all mid-life 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 America's best young fiction writers, tells a tragicomic story of a deeply faithful man who, crippled by grief and the demands of work, religion and family, becomes entangled in an affair that threatens to destroy his family's future. Like John Irving and Richard Yates, Udall's characters engage us to the fullest as they grapple with the nature of need, love and belonging. A beautifully written comic masterpiece, keenly observed and ultimately redemptive, The Lonely Polygamist is the unforgettable story of an American family - with its inevitable dysfunctionality, heartbreak and comedy - pushed to its outer limits.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224078062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224078061
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 832,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A brilliant comic writer..this novel is full of laugh-out-loud moments...but is equally adept at heartbreaking tragedy.' -- Sunday Herald

Throughout The Lonely Polygamist, Udall demonstrates a wonderful ability to move the reader one way or the other. -- Sunday Herald Review, Doug Johnstone

He is a brilliant comic writer, and this novel is full of laugh-out-loud moments and running jokes. -- Sunday Herald Review, Doug Johnstone

`It's funny, but not simply a comic novel; Udall has some wonderful observations about the dynamics of family life.' -- The Times

`This 600 page entertainment presents a cast of memorable characters' --Daily Mail

'The Lonely Polygamist is THE novel of 2010'
--Book Munch

Book Description

From the author of the legendary novel The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, a highly anticipated new novel about the American Family writ large.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Lonely Polygamist is quite simply a very good story. For all of its 600 pages, it kept me engrossed and entertained - one minute inducing laughter and the next sadness and heartache. Several people have compared the writing to John Irving and that seems a fairly apt comparison for me - it has a similar feel for humanity, strange situations and wry humour. I'd venture to suggest that if you are a fan of Irving, then you will absolutely love this book. I am, and I did.

The story involves a Mormon polygamist - Golden Richards - and his four wives and 28 children. For some reason, polygamy seems to be an "in" subject at the moment - either in the Orange long listed Baba Segi's Wives or on TV with the US series Big Love. It's easy to see why this appeals to writers because of the complexities of human relationships it entails.

At first the character list can seem a daunting prospect and indeed there is a useful orienting family structure diagram at the start of the book. For the first 50 or so pages, I was often referring to it, but what Udall does cleverly is to focus his attentions on three of the main family members - Golden, his fourth wife Trish and one of the children of his third wife Rusty. Although the others feature throughout, along with a grumpy ostrich, a violent brothel owner and an outcast whose hobby is making fireworks while building a bomb shelter, this helps to simplify the reader's experience.

The nub of the story is that Golden is pressured by the demands on him and while away on a construction project, gets dangerously drawn to the wife of his boss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, funny, and can't recommend it enough 4 Jan 2013
You know how sometimes you read a book you REALLY enjoy, and then you recommend it to everybody and anybody? This is why I'm writing this review.

'The Lonely Polygamist' is original, funny, interesting, sad and has a twist in the middle that is one of those rare ones that you don't see coming or guess part-way through. The book has some fantastic characters in it (as another reviewer mentions, there are numerous characters but there is a handy family tree reference at the beginning of the book, and for the most part, I did remember who was who as the book progressed as obviously some characters feature more than others.) Everyone I've lent my copy to has also thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I wouldn't be surprised if they adapted the book into a film.

Buy it or borrow it but definitely read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All the emotions 5 Dec 2012
This book puts you through the wringer in the nicest possible way. I never thought that I could consider emapthy with a lifestyle so far from my own but by the end of this book you feel that you have traveled a great distance with the main protagonist Golden Richards. The book is hardly a glowing indictment for Pologomy but that is not the point and it feels that it is just a very small part of the story. The huge family acts as a device to bring to the fore a host of situations, feelings and events that study the human condition beautifully. It highlights issues that this lifestyle can bring, normalises to a degree the situation in a sympathetic way, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. You can (and most likely will) totally disagree with the life choices made by this family but you would have a heart of stone not to be moved by the events that happen to them. It is a lovely book that has many plots and relationships, it skips along and I have to say I totally disagree with the reviews that say it is slow and too long. I found no disappointment in the ending either, there is a lot of excitement in this novel and a great deal of pain and love, not everything has to have a massive twist or huge Tsunami at the end.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking indictment of polygamy 5 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a stunning book, with sadness running through it alongside biting insight and black humour. Golden Richards is none too bright, yet appropriately he has a heart of gold. After a sad childhood he finds himself married to four wives and doing his best to 'live the Principle' in his local Mormon church. He tries hard to be a good husband and father to 27 children and fails miserably. We follow him through his valiant efforts to keep everything together, financially, practically and emotionally, while seeming to have none of his own needs met. He almost succumbs to temptation and suffers much grief and even violence as he attempts to keep all the balls in the air.

This book is crammed with unforgettable characters and Brady Udall has cleverly homed in on just one of the children and one of the wives. We see the lives of the others mirrored in the unhappy experiences of the unfortunate Rusty, an adolescent misfit, and Trish - last and youngest of the wives, as well as Golden himself. Full of philosophical musings and breathtaking insight, this book is one that stays in the memory for a long time. It is a laugh out loud one minute and cry the next kind of novel, which plunges the depths while ending in a way that feels just right. This book, and this writer, will go far.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fancy four wives and lots of children? Read this first.
I first heard of this novel when I stumbled across an interview with the author online. The book was also praised on a forum. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A reader in England
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lonely Polygamist - Fantastic
I loved every aspect of this book - the humour and use of language appealed to me as well as the storyline. Funny and sad and a very good read
Published 7 months ago by R. Chatterton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab - recommended
I absolutely love everything I have read by Brady Udall. His characters are so believable, the stories fabulous, funny, touching, sad - an emotional roller coaster. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by Anom
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read - but disappointing as it neared the end
I very much enjoyed most of this sympathetic treatment of a polygamist and his family. We see the family dynamics not only from the viewpoint of the main protagonist, the... Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2011 by A. Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
This is the story of Golden, a Mormon polygamist and his extended, dysfunctional family. Golden has 4 wives, 20 odd children and 3 homes and is struggling to cope with everything... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2011 by Cath B
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lonely Polygamist - Brady Udall
I absolutely loved 'The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint' and as soon as I had finished it, I wanted to read another of Brady Udall's books. I was not disappointed. Read more
Published on 27 May 2011 by Sarah Chant
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read
I am nearing the end of this book now, just 30 pages left and I'm so disappointed that it's coming to an end. Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by Micky Two Pints
2.0 out of 5 stars brady udall
If your looking for some 'heavyweight' reading look no further. This is an absolute tome of a book. I can only manage a doz. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by edparks
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy and unhappy families in the land of plygs
I thought the writer's first novel "Edgar Mint" published in 2001 was one of the greatest works of fiction I had read in years and nine years later we now have his second lengthy... Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2010 by Siriam
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