Excerpt from The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lonely Polygamist

By Brady Udall

The Lonely Polygamist
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2010,
    602 pages.
    Paperback: May 2011,
    608 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Come on," he whispered, "come on, you sissy."

Like a man gathering to jump into an icy pond, he pushed open the door. A wave of heat hit him—the house was as hot as a bakery. The tiled entry was dim and empty, and the rich, sugary smell of something in the oven—hopefully Beverly's pineapple upside-down cake—made his mouth water. He took one stealthy heel-to-toe step, another, stopped to listen. Over the sounds of hollering and pounding feet he could hear the radio and the sound of water chuckling through overhead pipes. Normally there would have been a crush of children waiting at the door, all of them shouting at once, pulling at his clothes and asking him what he'd brought them, the little ones standing on their heads or displaying some new bruise or scab—Look at me! Look at me!—and the wives hanging back, waiting for their chance to lay their claims on him, each one of them a burning spotlight of attention and need.

But for the first time in his memory there was no one there to greet him. He was all alone and it unnerved him.

He listened, trying to get a sense of what he might be facing. A door slammed. Muffled voices echoed down the stairway. He willed himself to step forward, out of the dark hallway and into the light of the family room, but Golden kept imagining slipping back out the door, skulking away like a burglar, maybe heading out to the highway and getting a room at the Apache Acres Motor Inn, where he could take a long serious leak, call home to claim engine trouble, and then order some of that good country-fried steak from the all-night diner and watch Starsky and Hutch on a color television—but his little fantasy didn't last long because at that moment the children attacked.

Somebody yelled, "Kill the zombie!" and he was grabbed from behind by his belt, from both sides around the calves. They came from behind the couches and the top of the stairs, ten, twelve of them, ramming him with their small heads, clawing at his legs, hooking their ?ngers in the pockets of his jeans, trying to drag him down. Herschel, Fig Newton, Ferris, Darling, Jame-o, Louise, Teague. There were the second twins: Sybil and Deeanne. And the Three Stooges, yipping like mariachis. They were all sweaty and wild and for a moment it felt like the sheer weight of them might tear him apart.

On another night, Golden might have gone along, moaning like a cartoon mummy, ?ailing his arms in mock undead rage, falling with them onto the carpet of the living room ?oor, wrestling and tickling and kissing—but not tonight. No way. He locked his knees and went stiff, hoping to outlast them, but they hung on, screaming with laughter, egging each other on. Eleven-year-old Rusty, who was, as his mother called him, "hefty" and getting too old for this kind of thing, slipped from his hiding place behind the curtains and leapt off the piano bench onto Golden's back, nearly bringing the whole pile down.

"Okay now!" Golden grunted. "Let's try not to overdo it!" He was whacked across the shins with a plastic samurai sword and it felt like someone was trying to take a bite out of his kneecap.

At ?rst he offered no resistance, did little more than stand there and take the punishment as his due. But then Teague, who had developed the habit of trying to slug Golden in the crotch whenever there was an opening, did exactly that and Golden decided he'd had enough. He shrugged off Rusty and started the work of peeling them away, one by one. Several resisted, thinking it was still a game. Two or three were still at his legs and someone had climbed up his back and grabbed hold of his shirt collar. Pet, her silver-pink hair in braids, stood on her tiptoes and squeezed him fervently around the middle, putting a strain on his kidneys.

Excerpted from The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Copyright © 2010 by Brady Udall. Excerpted by permission of WW Norton. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Mormon Fundamentalists

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  119Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson
  2.  171The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.