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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

A Novel

Wroblewski, David

(Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Print
A tale reminiscent of "Hamlet" that also celebrates the alliance between humans and dogs follows speech-disabled Wisconsin youth Edgar, who bonds with three yearling canines and struggles to prove that his sinister uncle is responsible for his father's death.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061374227
0061374229
Branch Call Number: FICTION WROBLEWSK 2008
Characteristics: 566 p. ;,24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Hamlet gets an update in this compelling a beautifully written novel.

A mute boy has a special connection with the dogs that are raised on his family farm. They are his only solace when tragedy strikes and an uncle with questionable motives shows up and inserts himself into the family's life.

This story with allusions to Hamlet takes place on a farm where dogs are bred and trained. A mute boy is unable to speak with humans, but has a close connection with his dogs and finds himself relying on them when a man with unknown intentions comes to live on the farm.


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A novel based on Macbeth, with the plot so unbelievable, the characters so undeveloped and the story so wretched as if the author himself hated it. Ironically, it was on Oprah's list a few years ago, recommended to millions of people.

Dec 08, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great material on dog training and animal behavior. The story is a bit overwritten and monumentally tragic, but then, since it's based on Hamlet, what else could it be?

Jun 22, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This debut novel was crafted over a ten year period by Wroblewski, a software developer and amateur photographer with a background in theatre. The story is set on a farm in rural Wisconsin where the Sawtelle family raises and trains a unique, fictional breed of dogs set apart by personality, temperament and ability to intuit commands and make decisions. After two tragedies on the farm, Edgar, a mute teen, bravely sets off with three of his loyal dogs on a dangerous journey. Wroblewski was inspired by Hamlet and this novel has been favourably compared to Watership Down and The Life of Pi. The pace is fast with literary thriller plot twists that culminate in heart wrenching and tender insight into human nature, retribution and hope.

May 31, 2013
  • meyoubou rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fascinating story. Deep and moving.

Sep 07, 2012
  • lisahiggs rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I thought I was reading a story about a mute boy and his family's special dogs. When ghosts started showing up delivering psychic messages, it still seemed pretty cool, just not what I was expecting. Unfortunately, the surprises didn't stop and the ending went beyond unexpected and into unsatisfying.

Still a good read for the dog parts, though.

Update: I have just learned that this story is based on Hamlet, which I haven't read; but the ghost parts, the brother-wife debacle and the ending now make a tiny bit more sense. However it makes me wonder if this book just didn't do it right, or if Hamlet is that disjointed.

Aug 19, 2012
  • bibliomutti rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Just finished reading this book. I am distraught. An intense emotional experience.

It is a masterful book on many levels. However it fails to deliver that sense of justice you find in other great American stories such as "To Kill a Mockingbird". Remember THAT end? I think the author was too hung up on a certain Shakespearean play.

Final note, if necessary, return to the prologue and read it again.

Jun 27, 2012
  • shanauer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

One of the best (and saddest) books I have ever read. Beautiful and haunting. Destined to be a classic, in my opinion.

Jun 20, 2012
  • jeremybenny rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Very good read ! Not exactly feel good read though . I am writing this a week or so after reading and I am still milling it over in my brain.

Edgar, a farm boy who is mute, who's best friends seem to be dogs, tries everything he can to prove that his uncle is behind the death of his father.
This fiction book is very differently written, with lots of detail through out the whole book. Despite the climax, it wasn’t very intense. Although I did like this book, not much really happens, and it’s a little hard to say what the characters are like. Many people say that this book ties with Hamlet, but I have not read it so I wouldn’t know. I suggest maybe you should read Hamlet first?

Great read. Loaned from SLL. Tough ending, but the dogs know the way.

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Dec 19, 2009
  • Emily38 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

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, turnmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peacefull home. When Edgar's father dies sudenly, 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.

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