by Andrew Bardin Williams
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 16 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2021
Wally, a neurotic, self-depreciating sales rep in San Francisco, somehow wins the heart of Julie, the drummer for a rising punk band.
She’s everything he isn’t—cool, brash, confident in her own skin—and Wally never feels he’s able to live up to her public persona. Complicating matters is the fact that Wally is convinced he will die young and has taken weirdly precise considerations to make sure his affairs are taken care of after he is gone—even going as far as to pick out a potential mate for Julie to step in after his death.
When tragedy tears them apart, Wally spirals into a tailspin involving booze, strippers, old wedding videos, a Jack Russell named after Joey Ramone and a dramatic rescue on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Eventually, it’s his circle of friends that act as his de facto family as he deals with a devastating loss.
Above all, Polk Gulch is a startlingly honest story about love and grief that allows readers to enter the brain of someone who is haunted by the impending specter of death.
"Like Any Good Punk Rock Song, The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts...A quasi-coming-of-age story set against a punk-rock backdrop, Andrew Bardin Williams’ ‘Polk Gulch’ is a captivating read that explores love, loss, and the world of punk rock." –Vine Voice Reviewer
"BRILLIANT... For a writer to keep a reader so engrossed in a literary fiction novel as this writer did me, is pure genius as far as I’m concerned. The journey through the protagonist’s mind as he tries to cope with the unexpected death of his beloved wife was so intense and so very real I was mesmerized. So this is how it really feels to lose the love of your life, I thought as I read. WOW! A painful but oh so satisfying read. Bravo!" –Viga Boland, author of No Tears for my Father
"You don’t always need 422,000 words to tell an effective, gripping, and emotional tale. Indeed, Andrew Bardin Williams’ “Polk Gulch” does this in a fraction of that..." –Goodreads
This is the relaunch of a book that did't get the attention it deserved when first released - a tale of love, loss - and becoming whole again.
Lyrical and beautifully written, 'Polk Gulch' has ALL the feels.
The protagonist is written from the heart with heartbreaking honesty. When he loses his wife, you feel that you have lost her too - and worry what will happen to Wally.
This is a short, profoundly moving book.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 2 members
Polk Gulch is a reflection on loss and grief. In an opposites-attract relationship, Wally (Software sales) and Julie (band rising to fame) share their life in the Polk Gulch neighborhood of San Francisco. Wally’s neurosis has left him believing that catastrophe will befall him at any moment . He constantly dreams/imagines his death and attempts to keep his affairs in order, so his wife is not burdened when he is gone. When tragedy flips the script, we are taken on an exploration on how to exist in the world when your other half does not. This short novel offers a beautifully composed look at how loss and grief ebbs and flows. This book also managed to highlight the way that friends drag you through the trenches to get you to the other side, the best way they know how. I love that this book was a short, fast-paced novel but still managed to offer character and relationship growth. The grief is paced to the character instead of rushing to make it all better by the end of the book. I love the underlying message of the only way out is through.