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


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


When he saw Golden he wailed, "Are we gonna do something about the girls in this place? What are they doing in there all the time? Huh? I hate 'em!"

Golden slumped against the wall, defeated. The boy was right— the girls were bathroom hogs. Even the preadolescents could take half an hour to straighten their clothes and check their hair and perform other cryptic ministrations the boys could only guess at. And when a bathroom did become available they always seemed to get there first, as if they were trading insider information to which the boys—who saw using the bathroom as nothing more than a nuisance—were not party. Golden should have had some genuine sympathy for Clifton, but at this point all he felt was annoyed that the boy had beat him to the punch.

Under the cracking thunder of kids jumping off the bunk beds in

the room directly above him, he could hear the ratcheting of a sewing machine and turned to see a sight that made his blood turn to water: Beverly, the first wife, in the all-purpose room across the hall, working intently on a length of sheer fabric. In excruciating slow motion Golden tried to step backward out of sight, but just as he was about to clear the doorway she glanced up at him, stopping him cold. She went back to her sewing without a word.

Until now he had been sure the wives were assembled in an upstairs room deciding his fate, grimly analyzing the evidence against him, united in their desire to see him pay for his lies and transgressions. But here was Beverly, alone, and Golden couldn't decide whether this was bad news or a positive development. Maybe the scheming was already over and they had retired to separate quarters of the house, or maybe there had been no scheming at all and there was something else brewing which he could only guess at. Golden was in no state of mind to be making guesses; he felt fortunate just to have been able to locate the bathroom.

He tried to read something into Beverly's posture, but there was nothing to read; she always kept her back straight, her elbows close to her ribs. Even in her most distracted or carefree moments she never slumped or loafed or dragged, never allowed herself to sit back and take it easy. When she slept she lay with her head just so on the pillow, her hands clasped across her chest on top of the blankets, as if posing for a mattress commercial.

Pressing his thighs together so he wouldn't wet his pants, Golden hobbled across the hall and leaned against the doorjamb in a desperate attempt to look casual. He realized he was holding the half-eaten chicken wing right out in the open and in a moment of panic stuffed it into his pocket.

"Ah, hey, hello." He gave a little wave as if he were talking to her through a pane of glass. He raised his voice so she could hear him above the sewing machine and a round of sustained caterwauling that had started out in the family room. "Sorry I'm late! That darn concrete guy didn't show until four o'clock!"

There was the tiniest rise and fall of her shoulders, but she kept feeding the fabric through the machine. He stepped closer to her and felt a drop in temperature; Beverly was a woman whose moods held sway over the immediate atmosphere, who seemed to be in control of everything, including the weather. She had kinky iron-gray hair she kept in check with an assortment of clips, barrettes, clasps and stickpins. Tonight, as usual, she had her hair up in a barely contained bun, which bristled with what looked like an arsenal of miniature weaponry.

Only after she had hemmed the entire length of the fabric did she get up to deliver a perfunctory kiss on the cheek and tell him that there was dinner waiting for him at the table. She then sat back down and checked her hem under the light of a jeweler's lamp.

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
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...

First Impressions

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

Books that
expand your
horizons.

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

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

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.