Sweet Land of Bigamy
by Miah Arnold
“If I could have conjured a wild, wry, delicious story of bigamy [with] the woman choosing one groom too many and a few other sweet sins, it would be Miah Arnold’s Sweet Land of Bigamy…”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean
When Helen Motes finds herself on a Utah mountaintop getting married to a besotted young Indian poet, she can’t quite figure out how she became a bigamist, and she certainly doesn’t want to be one. Helen worked hard to create the stable middle-class life her childhood denied her, so sabotaging her first (and decidedly still legal) marriage wasn’t part of her life plan. Yet with her original husband away in Iraq, and her new husband ready to agree to everything she ever wanted, deciding which husband to keep proves to be torture.
How Helen’s life led her to this point–and what she plans to do with these two “keepers”–are the driving questions behind Miah Arnold’s heartfelt debut about an unlikely bigamist and her circle of family, friends, and husbands. Weaving in multiple continents and unforgettable characters, The Sweet Land of Bigamy is a funny and surprisingly touching exploration of what marriage can be.
“If I could have conjured a wild, wry, delicious story of bigamy [with] the woman choosing one groom too many and a few other sweet sins, it would be Miah Arnold’s Sweet Land of Bigamy. Gasping with laughter and admiration, I wonder not if this book will be a hit, but … you’ll pardon me … just how big!”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature
“Sweet Land of Bigamy is as weird as America, as absurd as our times, and as beautiful as our contradictions. Smart, funny, and utterly engaging. Miah Arnold makes a notable debut with a voice that seems to be just warming up.”
—Mat Johnson, author of Pym: A Novel
“Reading “Sweet Land of Bigamy” is like listening to Tom Waits. Miah Arnold’s book sings an American melody: the high and the low, the tough and the tender, the beautiful and the grotesque meet and marry. An arresting, inventive novel, so fresh, so full of images, of questions and answers.”
—Adam Zagajewski, Nobel Prize nominee and author of Unseen Hands: Poems
“The characters in Miah Arnold’s delightfully different first novel will grab you from the first and refuse to let go. Quirky, hilarious, sometimes dangerous, often shocking, always human, they make Sweet Land of Bigamy into a vibrant reading experience.”
—Chitra Divakaruni, author of One Amazing Thing
“Some years ago, we elected a mixed race man president, and yet the fiction of this country can barely imagine the complexities and subtle mysteries of life in-between. Miah Arnold takes us there with panache, smarts and, above all, great warmth for characters facing the sublime bewilderment of a post-post America. Along the way, she crafts a quirky lyricism that wanders across several points of view and vernaculars, often arriving at sudden, breathtaking turns of phrase in a language all her own. With Sweet Land of Bigamy, American fiction finally joins the world most of the world lives in.
—Rubén Martínez, author of Desert America
“Sweet Land of Bigamy is truly a story for our time. The vision it provides does not flinch at contemporary hardships but, rather, embraces those and suggests how real people might accommodate, forgive, endure, and re-invent the weird wild world we’ve found ourselves in. And all this with a sly sense of humor and a very large heart.”
—Antonya Nelson, author of Bound
“Sweet Land of Bigamy is funny and full-hearted and filled with the wonderfully flawed. Arnold writes with wit, grace, and an amused compassion that mark her as an exceptional talent, an author whose wisdom and sensitivity benefits us all. Helen Motes is unforgettable and in her romantic tribulations reminds us of how we can most profoundly injure those whom we most love. All the more reason to feel braced by the compassion that Arnold exhibits in this fine novel.”
—Alexander Parsons, author of Leaving Disneyland and In the Shadows of the Sun