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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  80,684 Ratings  ·  13,079 Reviews
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, tur ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 904 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by HarperLuxe (first published June 1st 2008)
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Stephanie
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Juliann No. I gave the book two stars for the prose, but the story took way too long to go not very far. I started skimming by page 100. Ending was okay, or…moreNo. I gave the book two stars for the prose, but the story took way too long to go not very far. I started skimming by page 100. Ending was okay, or maybe I was just glad to finish this bloviating behemoth slog of a book. (less)
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Red
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older teens and adults
Recommended to Red by: newspaper review
Shelves: animal, kindle-books
I'm torn. I'm torn between giving this book 5 stars and 1 star. The book is very thought provoking. It is well written, and very evocative of the time (early 70's) and the place (far northern Wisconsin.) This was a book that I had a hard time putting down, and indeed I stayed up too late several nights, and played hooky on chores an entire afternoon, so I could read it instead. I would give the first 500 pages five stars and the last 66 pages one star.

I went into this book thinking it was a YA t
...more
William Ramsay
This is a very well written book with serious flaws. I cannot fathom what the point of the book is or why it's getting such good press. The author doesn't seem to understand the relationship between story and the flow of ideas. He skips over important details such as why anyone does anything they do in the story. What does all that dog training have to do with the story? And someone please explain the old woman at the grocery store. Great books, and even just good ones, use incident to explain m ...more
Will Byrnes
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Will by: my wife
This is an extraordinary novel, Hamlet in the North Woods of Wisconsin.

Wroblewski was very fond of the stories of Shakespeare as a kid, if not necessarily the actual text, and it is clear that he carried with him the knowledge of tragedy. Edgar opens with a mysterious transaction in the Orient in which a man seeks out a purveyor of a particularly effective poison. That will feature large later in the story.

Edgar (Hamlet) is a boy born without the power of speech to a family (father Gar and moth
...more
Yulia
Dec 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone can base their work on a Shakespearean tragedy. Go ahead: try it. The goal is to make it speak for itself. This novel has no voice. It's stunningly inauthentic in its modesty and brazen in its ambition. This poorly-conceived and executed book may appeal to a shocking number of readers, but it doesn't make it worth one of the dogs that inspired it.

I feel like Joe the Plumber in Israel: I have a thousand questions in my mind yet I can't think of the right one. Well, I can: how can so many p
...more
Ruth
Jan 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I have to be the spoilsport here. I did not like this book.

Let me just say straight out that anthropomorphism does not sit well with me. I almost jumped ship on page 30, where the story hopped over to the POV of Almondine the dog and had her thinking and reasoning like a human being. I love dogs. I’ve had quite a few in my lifetime. I speak dog well, we relate to each other well. But I think they lose their own innate dignity when people try to turn them into people. A dog is a lovely th
...more
Cindy
Oct 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was SOOOO disappointed in this book. The only reason I gave it even one star is because of his depiction of the lovely dogs in the story. I felt like the author went overboard trying to 'wax poetic' to the point where I didn't know what he was talking about, even being unsure of what the progression of events was. The entire plot builds to a very important resolution THAT NEVER HAPPENS! What a sell-out. It felt like climbing a long flight of stairs with the anticipation of finding a beautiful ...more
Lisa
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stayed up half the night finishing it and… I really can’t be objective about this book. I said earlier how I was enjoying it purely as a reader and not a critic, but it goes deeper than that. It’s like Wroblewski had some kind of infrared Jungian checklist and somehow managed to find out all my childhood fantasies: benevolent and wise dog companion/nursemaid? Check. Super-intelligent semi-wild pack of devoted dogs that sleep with you at night? Check. I guess the only thing worse than being raise ...more
Melody
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Bobbi B
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Timothy Juhl
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who believes in story.
I waged a personal debate for this five-star rating, arguing what exactly makes a book great. With every question, I returned to the story itself has the ability to lift a book above more average efforts.

'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle' is just that, a great story. A modern retelling of 'Hamlet'? Certainly, the author availed himself of the plot to frame his tale of a mute boy and a remarkable group of dogs, but there is much more to be enjoyed among these pages.

There are the languid narrative pass
...more
Andrew
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Will someone please tell me how this book ends? SPOILER ALERT!! 46 746 Jan 08, 2018 10:13AM  
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle 30 329 Jan 15, 2017 11:42AM  
Play Book Tag: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - 4.5 Stars 13 30 Mar 24, 2016 09:47AM  
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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.
More about David Wroblewski...
“You swam in a river of chance and coincidence. You clung to the happiest accidents—the rest you let float by.” 1763 likes
“Life was a swarm of accidents waiting in the treetops, descending upon any living thing that passed, ready to eat them alive. You swam in a river of chance and coincidence. You clung to the happiest accidents- the rest you let float by.” 64 likes
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