Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Lonely Polygamist - Brady Udall

I admit a fascination with the concept of polygamy. I don't like the obvious sexist elements, or the idea of having so many children that no one seems to be able to keep track of them all. But, I do like the idea of communal living, and support for mothers by other women (and ideally, their husband(s)). So, I have been a fan of the HBO series "Big Love," as well as David Ebershoff's novel, The 19th Wife. And, since I did enjoy Brady Udall's earlier novel, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, I thought this one looked promising. The Lonely Polygamist is the story of Golden Richards - husband to four women and father to over 20. He is a developer, hiding the fact that his latest project consists of building a whorehouse. Given Golden's overwhelming brood and the constant pressures put on his to spend time with each of his children, as well as his wives, he finds himself without an outlet for his frustrations and loneliness. So, of course, he turns his attention to another woman - and the fantasty of running away and starting all over, just with her. And while he's off not paying attention to his family, one of his wives is becoming increasingly unhappy with her 4th wife position, another wife is experiencing extreme mental instability, and the strangest of his many weird children is having a crisis of faith, self-esteem, and overall existence. All together, it makes for interesting characters who lives you do want to know more about. But, frankly I found the actual stories told a little tedious and frustrating - perhaps a bit like Golden feels about his own life. A lot of interesting area to cover here, but unfortunately, it didn't carry through for me, and the secrets of the polygamist lifestyle remain hidden.

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