The Great American Family

Brady Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist is such a delight that I am positively lingering over the last few chapters.  You want a BIG family novel? Our titular protagonist has 4 wives, 28 kids, and a life that’s becoming more unglued every day.  In lesser hands this might have turned into a “Big Love”-style soapfest, but Udall is such a  careful and empathic writer that I never felt his characters were anything but genuinely fascinating. I would say a little warmer than J. Franzen was in The Corrections, maybe a little closer to Richard Russo or early John Irving.  You might even say Dickensian – certainly in terms of its length – but that’s all good because I really don’t want to say goodbye to these people I laughed and cried with for 600 pages.

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