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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Cover

 

Staff Pick

The perfect book to curl up with on a blustery afternoon, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a not-so-simple tale of a Wisconsin boy and his dogs. An eloquent exploration of both inner and outer landscapes, this novel will wind about your psyche and will haunt you long after the last page.
Recommended by Mary Jo, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

The Sanctuary. High up on the mountain, the Sanctuary is a place of refuge. It is a place where humans save dogs, who, in turn, save the humans. It is a place where the past does not exist, where hopelessness is chased away, where the future hasnand#8217;t been written, where orphans and strays can begin to imagine a new meaning for and#8220;family.and#8221;

Evie is making her way to the Sanctuary. She has lied to gain entry. She has pretended to know more than she does about dogs, but she is learning fast. Once the indomitable Mrs. Auberchon lets her pass, she will find her way. Like the racing greyhound who refuses to move, the golden retriever who returns to his job as the Sanctuaryand#8217;s butler every time heand#8217;s adopted, and the Rottweiler whoand#8217;s a hopeless candidate for search-and-rescue, Evie comes from a troubled past. But as they all learn, no one should stay prisoner to a life she didnand#8217;t choose.

This is the story of two women and a whole pack of dogs who, having lost their way in the world, find a place at a training schooland#8212;and radical rescue centerand#8212;called the Sanctuary. It is a story of strays and rescues, kidnappings and homecomings, moving on and holding on and letting go. And it is, ultimately, a moving and hilarious chronicle of the ways in which humans and canines help each other find new lives, new selves, and new hope.

Review:

Sit. Stay. Read. The dog days of summer are nigh, and here is a big-hearted novel you can fall into, get lost in and finally emerge from reluctantly, a little surprised that the real world went on spinning while you were absorbed.

You haven't heard of the author. David Wroblewski is a 48-year-old software developer in Colorado, and this is his first novel. It's being released with... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"I doubt we'll see a finer literary debut this year than The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. David Wroblewski's got storytelling talent to burn and a big, generous heart to go with it." Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Review:

"I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.... Wonderful, mysterious, long and satisfying.... I don't re-read many books, because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one." Stephen King

Review:

"A stately, wonderfully written debut novel... [Wroblewski] takes an intense interest in his characters; takes pains to invest emotion and rough understanding in them; and sets them in motion with graceful language... a boon for dog lovers, and for fans of storytelling that eschews flash. Highly recommended." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"An excruciatingly captivating read... Ultimately liberating, though tragic and heart-wrenching, this book is unforgettable." Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

"Edgar Sawtelle is a boy without a voice, but his world, populated by the dogs his family breeds, is anything but silent. This is a remarkable story about the language of friendship — a language that transcends words." Dalia Sofer, bestselling author of The Septembers of Shiraz

Review:

"A good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn. Grade: A" Entertainment Weekly

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.

Synopsis:

This riveting saga of an American family captures the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy's epic journey into the wild.

Synopsis:

A novel of a young woman who, despite knowing nothing about animals, signs herself up for dog training school at The Sanctuary, where she discovers that rescue can find even the most hopeless among us and that friends come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds

Synopsis:

Sanctuary. Place of refuge. Training school. Command center for The Network. Home for strays and rescued dogs.

Evie is stuck at The Inn, managed by the stern and mysterious Mrs. Auberchon, although sheand#8217;s supposed to join a training program at The Sanctuary. Thatand#8217;s what she signed up forand#8212;never mind that she lied and doesnand#8217;t know the first thing about animals except what sheand#8217;s learned from a breed guide, from the notes someone keeps leaving, and from videos online, like one that asks: Please can more people be nicer to dogs?

Once up on the mountain with staffers, volunteers, and her dog students, Evie takes notes on the new things sheand#8217;s learning. Alpha. Forgiveness. Play. Rehabilitation. Like the racing greyhound who refuses to move, the golden retriever who returns every time heand#8217;s adopted, and the rottweiler whoand#8217;s a hopeless candidate for search-and-rescue, Evie came from a troubled past. She writes: and#8220;Rescue. Best. Verb. Ever.and#8221; As she creates her own training manual, she may even write an entry on herself.

A worthy shelf-mate to books by Garth Stein and Carolyn Parkhurst, this is a brilliantly engaging novel about finding fellow animals who may bring you a deeper sense of home, healing, and the power of inventing a future.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 19 comments:

Kate Ryan, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Kate Ryan)
This is an amazing book, if only for the special way they describe the training of The Sawtelle Dogs. While the plot may be overly familiar to some, making it to the end will give you new insight into the way you relate to and train your own dogs. It also gives some fascinating insight into the foundations of the dog training for the original Seeing Eye program. For anyone interested in the genetics and training of dogs, or who just like to read about people training them, this one is a must read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Danielle M, April 20, 2011 (view all comments by Danielle M)
In their 2008 review, O Magazine called The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a "comforting joy of a book for summer." I can't think of a less appropriate description. While the story of Edgar and his family and the unique and magnificent "Sawtelle Dogs" they breed and raise on their farm did bring me joy, it was not comforting in the slightest. It jostled me and mesmerized me. It made my heart race and filled my head with haunting images and untamed thoughts that kept me awake at night and will, I'm sure, creep back into my dreams for many years to come. Of course, to be fair, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is somewhat indescribable. It's a mystery. A thriller. A coming-of-age adventure. A ghost story. A tale for animal lovers. A Great American Novel. It defies definition and cannot be paired with a season like a glass of wine. Sure, read it in the summer. Or, perhaps, save it for a stormier season when the rain is rattling the windows and you are inside, warm by the fire, a dog curled up at your feet.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
cak, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by cak)
A delight to read --just plain beautiful!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 19 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061374227
Author:
Wroblewski, David
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Author:
by David Wroblewski
Author:
by David Wroblewski
Author:
Cooney, Ellen
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Coming of age
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Human-animal relationships
Subject:
Speech disorders
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
June 2008
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
A <i>-- <i>Kirkus Reviews, First Fiction Special</
Language:
English
Illustrations:
none
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Ecco - English 9780061374227 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The perfect book to curl up with on a blustery afternoon, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a not-so-simple tale of a Wisconsin boy and his dogs. An eloquent exploration of both inner and outer landscapes, this novel will wind about your psyche and will haunt you long after the last page.

"Review" by , "I doubt we'll see a finer literary debut this year than The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. David Wroblewski's got storytelling talent to burn and a big, generous heart to go with it."
"Review" by , "I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.... Wonderful, mysterious, long and satisfying.... I don't re-read many books, because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one."
"Review" by , "A stately, wonderfully written debut novel... [Wroblewski] takes an intense interest in his characters; takes pains to invest emotion and rough understanding in them; and sets them in motion with graceful language... a boon for dog lovers, and for fans of storytelling that eschews flash. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "An excruciatingly captivating read... Ultimately liberating, though tragic and heart-wrenching, this book is unforgettable."
"Review" by , "Edgar Sawtelle is a boy without a voice, but his world, populated by the dogs his family breeds, is anything but silent. This is a remarkable story about the language of friendship — a language that transcends words."
"Review" by , "A good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn. Grade: A"
"Synopsis" by , 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.

"Synopsis" by , This riveting saga of an American family captures the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy's epic journey into the wild.
"Synopsis" by , A novel of a young woman who, despite knowing nothing about animals, signs herself up for dog training school at The Sanctuary, where she discovers that rescue can find even the most hopeless among us and that friends come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds
"Synopsis" by ,
Sanctuary. Place of refuge. Training school. Command center for The Network. Home for strays and rescued dogs.

Evie is stuck at The Inn, managed by the stern and mysterious Mrs. Auberchon, although sheand#8217;s supposed to join a training program at The Sanctuary. Thatand#8217;s what she signed up forand#8212;never mind that she lied and doesnand#8217;t know the first thing about animals except what sheand#8217;s learned from a breed guide, from the notes someone keeps leaving, and from videos online, like one that asks: Please can more people be nicer to dogs?

Once up on the mountain with staffers, volunteers, and her dog students, Evie takes notes on the new things sheand#8217;s learning. Alpha. Forgiveness. Play. Rehabilitation. Like the racing greyhound who refuses to move, the golden retriever who returns every time heand#8217;s adopted, and the rottweiler whoand#8217;s a hopeless candidate for search-and-rescue, Evie came from a troubled past. She writes: and#8220;Rescue. Best. Verb. Ever.and#8221; As she creates her own training manual, she may even write an entry on herself.

A worthy shelf-mate to books by Garth Stein and Carolyn Parkhurst, this is a brilliantly engaging novel about finding fellow animals who may bring you a deeper sense of home, healing, and the power of inventing a future.

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