The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
A Novel

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Synopsis

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm—and into Edgar's mother's affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires—spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes—the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain—create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.

 

About David Wroblewski

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David Wroblewski grew up in rural Wisconsin, not far from the Chequamegon National Forest where The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is set. He earned his master's degree from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and now lives in Colorado with his partner, the writer Kimberly McClintock, and their dog, Lola. This is his first novel.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 578 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Kirkus Reviews

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A stately, wonderfully written debut novel that incorporates a few of the great archetypes: a disabled but resourceful young man, a potential Clytemnestra of a mom and a faithful dog.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

The New York Times

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Then he thought about Vi — who was the best dog he'd ever known until then — and about Captain and Vi combined into one dog, one pup, which was a crazy thought because he had far too many dogs on his hands already.

Aug 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

The New York Times

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But the voice heard in “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” sounds like no one else’s as this book creates its enthralling, warmly idiosyncratic story.

Jun 13 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

The New York Times

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This first novel, a modern twist on “Hamlet,” revolves around a mute boy in a family of dog trainers.

Aug 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

The Guardian

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres adapted the story of...

Jul 25 2009 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

BC Books

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In American novelist David Wroblewski's debut novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Shakespeare's Hamlet is used to structure and fashion a new tragedy out of the American rural Midwest.

Jul 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

Entertainment Weekly

Young Edgar, born mute, lives with his parents on a remote Wisconsin farm, where they raise a rare breed of dog, and has an unusual rapport with a dog named Almondine (who hears baby Edgar wailing even though he makes no sound).

Jun 06 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

Pajiba

When Oprah added that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a must for anyone who loves dogs, I knew I was destined to read it.

Oct 08 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Christopher Walken talks about acting, cello lessons and Fred MacMurray Stage preview: Actor Daniel Gerroll has been on the go since 'Chariots of Fire' in '81 Movie review: 'Mama' skillfully tinkers with reality Movie review: Star Wahlberg's f...

Jul 13 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

About.com Bestsellers

ProsWroblewski's writing is poetic.Deep character development -- and the setting counts as a character in this novel.Ghosts and oracles seem believable and right, even in Wisconsin.ConsThose use to plot driven books might find 'Sawtelle' too slow.Description'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle' was publi...

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LA Times

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Today Oprah announced her new Book Club selection: "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by first-time novelist David Wroblewski.

Sep 19 2008 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

https://filmschoolrejects.com

The role of Edgar could be a tremendous breakout part for a young actor, the role of Claude could afford its actor a calling card villain role, and Almondine – oh, Almondine – her presence alone could make this film worthwhile, because Almondine is already one of modern literature’s most wonderfu...

Aug 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: ...

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Ben Labovitz

Ben Labovitz 23 Nov 2013

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