The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a novel by David Wroblewski originally published in 2008 to great acclaim. I count myself as one of a long list of readers who love this book. I found it fascinating from beginning to end.
The story is often slow and sweet; at other times it reads like a thriller. But at all times it’s propelled by a romantic vision of the world and the people who inhabit it.
It seems to me life can be made enthralling or dull depending on the filters through which we view it. In this book the lyric language is a filter that imbues everything–the land, the forest, the animals, the characters and their inexplicable mysteries–with a resonate meaning.
And what is the book about? A boy, his family, his family history, and the dogs they raise on a farm abutting a primeval wilderness in Northern Wisconsin. That’s all I will say on it, but I’ll also add a warning to avoid reading the teasers used to sell this book. The one I read basically conveyed every major plot point of the story—highly annoying!
So do I recommend this book? Always a tricky question. Depends on you. If you love to read for the sake of words and story, you might love this book too. If you need a steam-rolling plot trimmed of all excess, that ends in positive fashion . . . maybe not so much. The opinions at GoodReads.com span the spectrum, but for me The Story of Edgar Sawtelle worked perfectly, from beginning to end.
Linda Nagata is the Locus and Nebula award winning author of The Bohr Maker, Vast, and Memory, all available at Book View Cafe. Her latest book The Dread Hammer, is a fast-paced mythic fantasy of love, war, murder, marriage, and fate.