Reading: Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I simply can’t put down, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Anchor. 2008. It’s early but as a dog lover I suppose I’m a reader with bias. Some folks hated the ending but I’ll refer to that in a comment when I’m finished.

This is an astonishing, mysterious, bewildering and profound novel. And even though the story is sad and heart-breaking, it is written so well that it has resulted in a deeply satisfying novel as well. Not since I read Yann Martel’s mesmerizing novel, “Life of Pi”, have I found myself so deeply absorbed in a novelist’s magical creation as I was while reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”.

The novel begins with a needless killing of an injured, limping, stray dog with poison by a medicine man or herbalist. This brutal killing fits into the novel later, as the novel progresses.

The protagonist of the novel is a fourteen years old boy named Edgar Sawtelle, who was born mute. His parents – Gar and Trudy Sawtelle are dog-breeders, who live on a farm in a remote part of northern Wisconsin, not far from the Chequamegon National Forest. They breed and train a unique and special breed of canine developed by Edgar’s grand father, John Sawtelle; hence the name of the breed: Sawtelle. The dogs earn good reputation not only for their noble temperament, but also for their intuitive ability to anticipate their masters’ command, and then interpret and act on the command independently also. The family’s peaceful farm life is disrupted when Claude, Edgar’s charming, conniving paternal uncle visits them. Gar offers him a job at the farm and a place to stay. Soon Gar dies suddenly and mysteriously. Edgar suspects that Claude murdered Gar. He tries to prove that Claude did indeed murder Gar, but his plan misfires, and so to save himself from Claude he runs away into the Chequamegon woods, accompanied by three young dogs. …(Amazon)

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