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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

av David Wroblewski

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7,891391851 (3.73)348
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.
  1. 10
    What the Deaf-Mute Heard av G. D. Gearino (Bookshop_Lady)
    Bookshop_Lady: Coming-of-age stories, family secrets, loss of parents - both wonderful books.
  2. 00
    The Whistling Season av Ivan Doig (chndlrs)
  3. 00
    The Turtle Warrior: A Novel av Mary Relindes Ellis (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both novels feature a sympathetic young man as the main character, an isolated rural setting, and a ghost.
  4. 00
    The Maestro av Tim Wynne-Jones (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: If you read and liked The Maestro as a teen, as an you'll probably like at least Part 2 of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle because of the adventure/survival aspect to the plot.
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» Se även 348 omnämnanden

I'm not going to do this novel justice, but I'll do my best.

I read this book when it first came out twelve (!) years ago. It had two strikes against it at the time, and one plus. The two strikes were that it was absolutely not a book I would normally read. A family that raises dogs? A mute protagonist? Based on Hamlet? Hell no, count me out. And count me out twice as hard, because it was an Oprah's Book Club selection (I'd read a couple of her other choices and despised them both).

The one plus (which is a dubious one at best) was that Stephen King liked it. Dubious plus, because a lot of the stuff he likes ain't that good either.

Regardless, for whatever reason (maybe it was deeply discounted? I can't remember now), I bought it, I read it, and I absolutely loved it.

Loved it more than any other book I'd ever read.

In the twelve years since, I've learned to adore Shakespeare, so that Hamlet thing doesn't bother me at all now. And I'd been recommending it in the past three years at the bookstore I work at. But, if I was being honest, I couldn't remember a lot about the book anymore.

And then I got talking to someone who's since turned into (in the words of Jim Croce) "my best old ex-friend" who will never read this, because I've defriended them everywhere. Anyway, we'd planned a read of it, but then they got stupid and I got fed up. The re-read on my end was put on hold.

And then, it was autumn, and it just seemed right to read it again.

And that's the Story of Tobin Elliott coming to the re-read of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I will say I was nervous to pick this up again. Would I like it as much?

I shouldn't have worried. This book tugs at my heart like no other book ever has. Wroblewski's writing is beautiful to read, with sublime word choices creating wonderfully real imagery in my mind. The book is so grounded in perfect observations of the world that Edgar's world (and Almondine, his faithful dog) is as real as our own.

Which works perfectly when the author introduces some slight supernatural elements. They become as real and believable as all the rest.

Throughout the reading of this book, I laughed at the silliness of the dog's antics at times. I teared up at the tragic events. But I've done that with books before. King's [b:The Green Mile|11566|The Green Mile|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1373903563l/11566._SY75_.jpg|15599] crushed me on three separate occasions toward the end of that particular story.

But here, for the first time, Wroblewski held a new power over me. With a simple sentence, he would reveal something, and I would groan with the knowledge of what that observation would bring to the characters. With a few words, he would make me gasp in revelation, or fear, or agony. Characters don't just die in this book, you know these characters, so their passing is a grief-stricken event for the reader. You feel their passing. You hurt for those left behind to mourn their passing.

Others have stated that there's no story here. Respectfully, they're wrong. There's two stories. There's the passing of a boy into manhood, a child who loses his father, and learns to take on the weights of the world, and to try to do what's right.

But the other story is about the Sawtelle dogs. We learn about them in the first half through Almondine, but we get to know them in the second half, and to realize their fate at the end.

And Wroblewski does it with large nods to both the aforementioned Hamlet, but also (and I'd somehow forgotten this) through Kipling's The Jungle Book. Not just paying lip service to either story, but incorporating important elements from each into his own story and bending them to his service, brilliantly.

This is the closest I think I'll ever come to reading an absolutely perfect novel. Twelve years ago, I declared this my absolute favourite book of all time. Today, I will hold that declaration up as truth. It still stands.

This is my favourite book.

Ever. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
This is probably a 3.5. Very slow start, in my opinion, but Edgar's family history developing its own breed of dogs and his relationships with family, other people and the dogs eventually creates a compelling story, with an unexpected ending. In the end, I think Edgar's muteness is the thread that makes the story work. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
My mother read this book in a book club, and gave it to me so I had high expectations, as she had never given me a book she had already read for me to read before.

There were many interesting characters in the book and many plots and sub plots and a lot about dogs. And training dogs. And view points from dogs. Usually once a book starts being from the viewpoint of an animal I don't tend to continue, but I powered through.

The book started to go a little faster, things were building, I never knew what was going to happen next.

And then it ended. Crashing to a halt, over in 10 pages, no explanations, completely different ending than I had ever expected.

And it was an ending, it didn't leave me hanging yet I wasn't satisfied. There was no why to anything in this book. Plots? Sub plots? No resolution. No explanation. It felt like half a story. Perhaps the whole book could have been written in less than 80 pages as a prelude to a real story. I read the author is planning another book with these characters, and maybe that book will explain things, but I doubt I will find the time to read it.

Still I gave it 3 stars (should be 2 1/2) for readability and holding my interest for so long. ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
Absolutely loved this book! Well written, great character development. The relationships between man and wife, brother to brother, mother and son, boy and his dogs...brilliant. She painted a vivid picture in my mind while reading...would love to see this on a reading list for late middle school/high school ( )
  Betsy_Crumley | Jan 28, 2021 |
This was according to book cover one of Oprah's Book Club's 2008 selection. I bought it at a used book sale many years ago and had it on my "to read" pile until I finally decided it was time. I thought it started alittle slow, but drew me in due to the storyline of dog training, not that I am that interested, only that I have known and do know of several support dogs and was interested if this is how it somewhat started. The story is basically about "Edgar" born mute. He lived with his parents on the farm and worked on training a special selected breed of dog (fictional per book cover), that were trained by specific methods that started back from Edgar's great grandfather. Edgar's life revolved around the training of the dogs who Edgar communicated with by hand signs. All in the world was seemingly going great until his father's brother entered the scene. Eventually, the brother's rivalry or whatever brothers' issues escalated and the heart of the story begins. Edgar and his dogs begin a journey to unveil the truth behind his father's untimely death. I was cheering Edgar on not knowing how he was going to achieve his quest and still somewhat stunned on the finality. The final scene actually helped soothe the heartache of accepting the outcome of Edgar's quest for truth. ( )
  booklovers2 | Jan 17, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 389 (nästa | visa alla)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a dutiful procession through the main events of [Hamlet]. The Mousetrap scene, in which Edgar trains his dogs to act out his father’s murder in front of Claude, is marvelous—Wroblewski loves writing about dogs and he’s great at it—but the other pages are still covered by translucent drafter’s blueprints. Here’s Polonius, the meddler, here’s Laertes, the avenging son, and so on. (The Laertes figure isn’t introduced until page 489 and he’s as puzzled as the rest of us about why he’s supposed to kill a fourteen-year-old boy.) Wroblewski is only at pains to apply himself when there’s a chance his characters might become complicated and unsympathetic.
 
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, all 566 pages, is surprising and rewarding. It's worth savoring, both its story and its storytelling.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraUSA Today, Bob Minzesheimer (Jun 19, 2008)
 
High literary art from a talent that bears watching.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraBooklist, Ian Chipman (Jun 1, 2008)
 
This is the best book I've read in a long time.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraPublishers Weekly (May 19, 2008)
 
[A] spellbinding first novel . . .
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraKirkus Reviews (Apr 15, 2008)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (10 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
David Wroblewskiprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Lill, DebraOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Poe, RichardBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Saltzman, AlisonOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. ~Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
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After dark the rain began to fall again, but he had already made up his mind to go and anyway it had been raining for weeks.
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High in the crown of a charred tree, an owl revolved its dished face, and one branch down, three small replicas followed.
He thought of his father standing in the barn doorway peering skyward as a thunderstorm approached, while his mother shouted, ‘Gar, get indoors, for God’s sake.’ That was how it was, sometimes. You put yourself in front of the thing and waited for whatever was going to happen and that was all. It scared you and it didn’t matter. You stood and faced it. There was no outwitting anything. … It was not a morbid thought, just the world as it existed. Sometimes you looked the thing in the eye and it turned away. Sometimes it didn’t.
He’d left in confusion, but his return was clarifying. So much of what had been obscure while he faced away was now evident. … So much of the world was governed by chance. … 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. … Some things were certain—they had already happened—but the future would not be divined. … The future was no ally. A person had only his life to barter with.
Most people thought training meant forcing their will on a dog. Or that training required some magical gift. Both ideas were wrong. Real training meant watching, listening, diverting a dog’s exuberance, not suppressing it. You couldn’t change a river into a sea, but you could trace a new channel for it to follow.
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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.

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Medelbetyg: (3.73)
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