Effigy

Alissa York, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $25.95 (342p) ISBN 978-0-312-38672-6

Ungainly florid prose and a plodding narrative mar York's latest, which centers on a polygamous Mormon family in 1860s Utah. Erastus Hammer's four wives could not be more different. There is tyrannical head wife Ursula, an early convert and worshipper of founder Joseph Smith; demure Ruth, mother to most of Erastus's children and keeper of silkworms; vain ex-actress Thankful, who satisfies his sexual fantasies but can't seem to give him a child; and awkward girl-bride Dorrie, an expert taxidermist around whom the bulk of the story revolves. York traces the family's tumultuous history through dreamy flashbacks highlighting each character's suffering and conversion, with the spirit and the flesh serving as dueling poles throughout. York writes about taxidermy and the dark corners of Mormon history with impressive authority, but the overreaching prose and narrative inertia make this tough to get into. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-679-31472-1
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-679-31473-8
Ebook - 978-0-307-37562-9
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-8602-1
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