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.
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.
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jpr1492, December 13, 2010 (view all comments by jpr1492)
This unlikely mix of Old Yeller and Hamlet was so entertaining that the only time I put it down was to hug my dog or dry the occasional tear. And although it’s a must read for any pet owner, this story of a young boy’s maturation in the wake of a devastating loss is one that resonates no matter the audience. From the vivid details of living and working in a kennel to the complex relationships between a father and his son, reading this novel was one memorable journey.
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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.
by Mary Jo
by Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls,
"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."
by Stephen King,
"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."
by Kirkus Reviews (starred 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."
by Library Journal (starred review),
"An excruciatingly captivating read... Ultimately liberating, though tragic and heart-wrenching, this book is unforgettable."
by Dalia Sofer, bestselling author of The Septembers of Shiraz,
"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."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"A good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn. Grade: A"
by Harper Collins,
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.
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.
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