The Polygamist by William Irvine
One man, many wives
In The Polygamist, William Irvine explores love, sex, and marriage within the context of an unusual household. An exploration of sexual fantasy and desire, ultimately The Polygamist is a coming of age story with a strong spiritual theme.
Set at the end of the seventies, a time when experimentation with alternative lifestyles and sexual relationships was rife, The Polygamist follows the fortunes of Omar Al Ghamdi, Saudi-born but educated in the West; a man who is the product of two irreconcilable cultures.
After two decades he has come to experience philandering as increasingly superficial; but vehemently opposed to monogamous fidelity, turns to polygamy as the solution to his high turnover existence. His hope is that taking several wives will provide him with a more honest and satisfying alternative, allowing him to engage in deeper relationships whilst still giving a long enough leash to his sexuality.
Having pursued his goal without compromise by entering into serial arranged marriages, he lives with his household on a remote house on Colva Beach in Goa. Does the reality live up to the dream? And, what is it like for the women? How can one man possibly satisfy multiple female partners?
Written from an unashamedly male perspective, The Polygamist will appeal to those wishing to understand male sexuality and the desires that shape all of our lives and relationships.
A Word from the Author
Living with a harem is a fairly common male fantasy. I’ve certainly held it myself for as long as I can remember. There have been periods when the idea came to me so often and so vividly that I actually contemplated making it a reality. How would I set about it? I would need arranged marriages, a large house somewhere in the world giving plenty of privacy, and so forth. The thinking I did provided me with the start point for the novel. In order to write The Polygamist I then enjoyed, even finding it cathartic, having to think through how the reality might actually take shape. What would it really be like to live with several wives?
Whilst the novel is erotic fiction, a sexual fantasy, I am also interested in sexual mysticism – which is explored in the novel – and in the nature of desire itself. What happens when we convert fantasy or desire into reality? What happens when the reality does not match what we wanted?
As far as possible I prefer to write from actual experience rather than imagination. The novel gave me a vehicle with which to relate a number of curious episodes from my early adult life in India. Fact – as the adage goes – is stranger than fiction; so much stranger that I sometimes worry if my readers will dismiss some of the real events described in the book as pure fiction.
(William Irvine, November2016)