The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle

Paperback | September 8, 2009

byDavid Wroblewski

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Beautifully written and elegantly paced, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a coming-of-age novel about the power of the land and the past to shape our lives. It is a riveting tale of retribution, inhabited by empathic animals, prophetic dreams, second sight, and vengeful ghosts.
Born mute, Edgar Sawtelle feels separate from the people around him but is able to establish profound bonds with the animals who share his home and his name: his family raises a fictional breed of exceptionally perceptive and affable dogs. Soon after his father's sudden death, Edgar is stunned to learn that his mother has already moved on as his uncle Claude quickly becomes part of their lives. Reeling from the sudden changes to his quiet existence, Edgar flees into the forests surrounding his Wisconsin home accompanied by three dogs. Soon he is caught in a struggle for survival — the only thing that will prepare him for his return home.

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From the Publisher

Beautifully written and elegantly paced, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a coming-of-age novel about the power of the land and the past to shape our lives. It is a riveting tale of retribution, inhabited by empathic animals, prophetic dreams, second sight, and vengeful ghosts.  Born mute, Edgar Sawtelle feels separate from the people ar...

From the Jacket

A riveting family saga, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle explores the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy’s epic journey into the wild.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 S...

David Wroblewski grew up in rural Wisconsin, not far from the Chequamegon National Forest where the novel is set. He earned an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. This is his first novel.From the Hardcover edition.

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Die Geschichte des Edgar Sawtelle: Roman
Die Geschichte des Edgar Sawtelle: Roman

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The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle
The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle

Audio Book (CD)|Jul 14 2015


see all books by David Wroblewski
Format:PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 9.21 × 6.3 × 1.2 inPublished:September 8, 2009Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385664796

ISBN - 13:9780385664790

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Oprah's Book Club 2.0


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Close but no cigar I really liked the first, say, 500 pages of this book -- and then the last 100 upended the cart, so to speak. Very disappointed in how the story resolved itself and in the outcome of certain characters. Don't believe the hype on this one.
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It’s decent, but not worth all of the hype Parts of this book, I loved and other parts, I really disliked. The writing is incredible when it describes Edgar’s relationship with his family’s dogs. So poignant and believable! However, I found the ghost element of the story unbelievable. All and all, it’s an enjoyable read and probably a must for dog-lovers. The book really redeems itself by not analyzing the villain. You get to do that all on your own.
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hard to Rate I had heard so many great reviews in print, that I had to read this. It started off slowly, gained momentum *Spoiler* once Edgar runs away, but I hated the ending. It left me thinking "What was the point?" I would recommend this book to dog lovers, definitely, but more of a "borrow" than a "buy".
Date published: 2011-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from For Those Who Want a Strong Story It appears that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is subject to mixed reviews here. Those who loved it, I being one of them, were captivated by the characters and the movement of the plot. Those who remained unsatisfied upon finishing this novel seem to feel that nothing happened. I, personally, disagree. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is essentially the story of Hamlet excet told...with dogs. Though I am not an avid fan of Shakespeare, I did quite enjoy Hamlet, and I felt that this story was a lovely reworking of the tale. Really, to be brief, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle begins slowly - a funeral march kind of slow. It steadily picks up speed as you approach the hundred-page mark, and somewhere - around page two hundred or so - it begins to gallop away at an extraordinary pace.
Date published: 2010-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from no need to love dogs to love this book it was a slow start but could not put it down once I passed the quarter mark
Date published: 2010-04-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Dogone let down Being a Huge fan of dogs, I could hardly wait to start reading this book after receiving it as a gift. The story line captivates, then lets down, goes no where and the characters lack in depth. I am half way through and am still waiting for something to take hold and make me want to keep reading.. It's a major struggle and I'm not sure if I'll make it to the end of the book. The reviews, Oprah's pick etc... well... more hype than anything!. I will not be passing this book along to my dog lover friends .. off to the charity shop it will go!
Date published: 2010-02-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Struggled Through This One I agree with Suzisunshine. It took everything I had to finish this book. The only reason I read it was because it was an Oprah pick. Learned my lesson there and haven't read one she has recommended since. Don't waste your time on this one. Very convoluted storyline that goes nowhere.
Date published: 2010-01-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Sad undertone What was this about anyways? I found it hard to get through, convoluted with too many details which do not enhance the storyline. Didnt' know where the author was going most of the time. Not sure what the message was in this book but I'm sorry I didn't bail half way through.
Date published: 2009-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional This book is a saga about the Sawtelles and their exceptional dogs. Dogs not of a particular breed but bred for their qualities of obedience, loyalty and intelligence. Edgar was born to Trudy and Gar,as a mute. He learned sign language to communicate but he has grown up with the dogs and little outside contact. His father gives him his own litter to raise and train. When Gar brings his brother, Claude into his home after his release from prison, the family is changed. Gar and Claude start to argue a lot and Edgar doesn't understand why. When Gar dies, Edgar knows he must learn everything that his grandfather and father knew about the dogs. But Claude is insinuating himself more and more into Edgar's and Trudy's lives. When Edgar tries to prove that Claude killed his father everything backfires and Edgar runs away. This is a coming-of-age, a mystery, an animal and family story. The scenes from the wilderness that the author portrays are so very real. By far my favourite part of the book is the narration by Almondine, Edgar's faithful companion dog. These chapters are poignant and beautifully written.
Date published: 2009-11-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from ***Dont Waste Your Time**** You know, I can pretty much guarantee why this book went to become a top seller. It was because of Oprah and her obsession with her dogs. There is one section of the book where (without giving too much away) there is a touching moment between the boy and the dog he grew up with and I believe that ONE moment made the choice for Oprah. And of course there is no stopping the Oprah steam roller after that. Every adult in the book is either misguided to the point of stupidity or pure evil including the parents, uncle, doctor and others characters. No redeeming message to this story. A huge disappointment. The writer writes description very well and has clearly done the research regarding training dogs but so what- he had seven years to do it!. Beyond those two minimal characteristics the book did absolutely nothing for me. NoTHING. Save Your money.
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Riveting Tale It took me a bit to get interested, however it wasn't long until I had trouble to put it down. I have done nothing for several days but read. Mr. Wroblewski's insight into the raising of dogs is profound. His writing style has you capture the emotions of his characters including the dogs. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-11-08

Extra Content

Read from the Book

In the year 1919, Edgar’s grandfather, who was born with an extra share of whimsy, bought their land and all the buildings on it from a man he’d never met, a man named Schultz, who in his turn had walked away from a logging team half a decade earlier after seeing the chains on a fully loaded timber sled let go. Twenty tons of rolling maple buried a man where Schultz had stood the moment before. As he helped unpile logs to extract the wretched man’s remains, Schultz remembered a pretty parcel of land he’d spied north and west of Mellen. The morning he signed the papers he rode one of his ponies along the logging road to his new property and picked out a spot in a clearing below a hill and by nightfall a workable pole stable stood on that ground. The next day he fetched the other pony and filled a yoked cart with supplies and the three of them walked back to his crude homestead, Schultz on foot, reins in hand, and the ponies in harness behind as they drew the cart along and listened to the creak of the dry axle. For the first few months he and the ponies slept side by side in the pole shed and quite often in his dreams Schultz heard the snap when the chains on that load of maple broke.He tried his best to make a living there as a dairy farmer. In the five years he worked the land, he cleared one twenty-five-acre field and drained another, and he used the lumber from the trees he cut to build an outhouse, a barn, and a house, in that order. So that he wouldn’t need to go outside to tote water, he dug his well in the hole that would become the basement of the house. He helped raise barns all the way from Tannery Town to Park Falls so there’d be plenty of help when his time came. And day and night he pulled stumps. That first year he raked and harrowed the south field a dozen times until even his ponies seemed tired of it. He stacked rocks at the edges of the fields in long humped piles and burned stumps in bonfires that could be seen all the way from Popcorn Corners — the closest town, if you called that a town — and even Mellen. He managed to build a small stone-and-concrete silo taller than the barn, but he never got around to capping it. He mixed milk and linseed oil and rust and blood and used the concoction to paint the barn and outhouse red. In the south field he planted hay, and in the west, corn, because the west field was wet and the corn would grow faster there. During his last summer on the farm he even hired two men from town. But when autumn was on the horizon, something happened — no one knew just what — and he took a meager early harvest, auctioned off his livestock and farm implements, and moved away, all in the space of a few weeks.At the time, John Sawtelle was traveling up north with no thought or intention of buying a farm. In fact, he’d put his fishing tackle into the Kissel and told Mary, his wife, he was delivering a puppy to a man he’d met on his last trip. Which was true, as far as it went. What he didn’t mention was that he carried a spare collar in his pocket.THAT SPRING THEIR DOG, Violet, who was good but wild-hearted, had dug a hole under the fence when she was in heat and run the streets with romance on her mind. They’d ended up chasing a litter of seven around the backyard. He could have given all the pups away to strangers, and he suspected he was going to have to, but the thing was, he liked having those pups around. Liked it in a primal, obsessive way. Violet was the first dog he’d ever owned, and the pups were the first pups he’d ever spent time with, and they yapped and chewed on his shoelaces and looked him in the eye. At night he found himself listening to records and sitting on the grass behind the house and teaching the pups odd little tricks they soon forgot while he and Mary talked. They were newlyweds, or almost. They sat there for hours and hours, and it was the finest time so far in his life. On those nights, he felt connected to something ancient and important that he couldn’t name.But he didn’t like the idea of a stranger neglecting one of Vi’s pups. The best thing would be if he could place them all in the neighborhood so he could keep tabs on them, watch them grow up, even if from a distance. Surely there were half a dozen kids within an easy walk who wanted a dog. People might think it peculiar, but they wouldn’t mind if he asked to see the pups once in while.Then he and a buddy had gone up to the Chequamegon, a long drive but worth it for the fishing. Plus, the Anti-Saloon League hadn’t yet penetrated the north woods, and wasn’t likely to, which was another thing he admired about the area. They’d stopped at The Hollow, in Mellen, and ordered a beer, and as they talked a man walked in followed by a dog, a big dog, gray and white with brown patches, some mix of husky and shepherd or something of that kind, a deep-chested beast with a regal bearing and a joyful, jaunty carriage. Every person in the bar seemed to know the dog, who trotted around greeting the patrons.“That’s a fine looking animal,” John Sawtelle remarked, watching it work the crowd for peanuts and jerky. He offered to buy the dog’s owner a beer for the pleasure of an introduction.“Name’s Captain,” the man said, flagging down the bartender to collect. With beer in hand he gave a quick whistle and the dog trotted over.“Cappy, say hello to the man.”Captain looked up. He lifted a paw to shake.That he was a massive dog was the first thing that impressed Edgar’s grandfather. The second thing was less tangible — something about his eyes, the way the dog met his gaze. And, gripping Captain’s paw, John Sawtelle was visited by an idea. A vision. He’d spent so much time with pups lately he imagined Captain himself as a pup. Then he thought about Vi — who was the best dog he’d ever known until then — and about Captain and Vi combined into one dog, one pup, which was a crazy thought because he had far too many dogs on his hands already. He released Captain’s paw and the dog trotted off and he turned back to the bar and tried to put that vision out of his mind by asking where to find muskie. They weren’t hitting out on Clam Lake. And there were so many little lakes around.The next morning, they drove back into town for breakfast. The diner was situated across the street from the Mellen town hall, a large squarish building with an unlikely looking cupola facing the road. In front stood a white, three-tiered drinking fountain with one bowl at person height, another lower, for horses, and a small dish near the ground whose purpose was not immediately clear. They were about to walk into the diner when a dog rounded the corner and trotted nonchalantly past. It was Captain. He was moving in a strangely light-footed way for such a solidly constructed dog, lifting and dropping his paws as if suspended by invisible strings and merely paddling along for steering. Edgar’s grandfather stopped in the diner’s doorway and watched. When Captain reached the front of the town hall, he veered to the fountain and lapped from the bowl nearest the ground. “Come on,” his buddy said. “I’m starving.”From along the alley beside the town hall came another dog, trailing a half-dozen pups behind. She and Captain performed an elaborate sashay, sniffing backsides and pressing noses into ruffs, while the pups bumbled about their feet. Captain bent to the little ones and shoved his nose under their bellies and one by one rolled them. Then he dashed down the street and turned and barked. The pups scrambled after him. In a few minutes, he’d coaxed them back to the fountain, spinning around in circles with the youngsters in hot pursuit while the mother dog stretched out on the lawn and watched, panting.A woman in an apron walked out the door of the diner, squeezed past the two men, and looked on. “That’s Captain and his lady,” she said. “They’ve been meeting there with the kids every morning for the last week. Ever since Violet’s babies got old enough to get around.”“Whose babies?” Edgar’s grandfather said.“Why, Violet’s.” The woman looked at him as if he were an idiot. “The mama dog. That dog right there.”“I’ve got a dog named Violet,” he said. “And she has a litter about that age right this moment back home.”“Well, what do you know,” the woman said, without the slightest note of interest.“I mean, don’t you think that’s sort of a coincidence? That I’d run into a dog with my own dog’s name, and with a litter the same age?”“I couldn’t say. Could be that sort of thing happens all the time.”“Here’s a coincidence happens every morning,” his buddy interjected. “I wake up, I get hungry, I eat breakfast. Amazing.”“You go ahead,” John Sawtelle said. “I’m not all that hungry anyway.” And with that, he stepped into the dusty street and crossed to the town hall.WHEN HE FINALLY SAT DOWN for breakfast, the waitress appeared at their table with coffee. “If you’re so interested in those pups, Billy might sell you one,” she said. “He can’t hardly give ’em away, there’s so many dogs around here.”“Who’s Billy?”She turned and gestured in the direction of the sit-down counter. There, on one of the stools, sat Captain’s owner, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the Sentinel. Edgar’s grandfather invited the man to join them. When they were seated, he asked Billy if the pups were indeed his.“Some of them,” Billy said. “Cappy got old Violet in a fix. I’ve got to find a place for half the litter. But what I really think I’ll do is keep ’em. Cap dotes on ’em, and ever since my Scout ran off last summer I’ve only had the one dog. He gets lonely.”Edgar’s grandfather explained about his own litter, and about Vi, expanding on her qualities, and then he offered to trade a pup for a pup. He told Billy he could have the pick of Vi’s litter, and furthermore could pick which of Captain’s litter he’d trade for, though a male was preferable if it was all the same. Then he thought for a moment and revised his equest: he’d take the smartest pup Billy was willing to part with, and he didn’t care if it was male or female.“Isn’t the idea to reduce the total number of dogs at your place?” his buddy said.“I said I’d find the pups a home. That’s not exactly the same thing.”“I don’t think Mary is going to see it that way. Just a guess there.”Billy sipped his coffee and suggested that, while interested, he had reservations about traveling practically the length of Wisconsin just to pick out a pup. Their table was near the big front window and, from there, John Sawtelle could see Captain and his offspring rolling around on the grass. He watched them awhile, then turned to Billy and promised he’d pick out the best of Vi’s litter and drive it up — male or female, Billy’s choice. And if Billy didn’t like it, then no trade, and that was a fair deal.Which was how John Sawtelle found himself driving to Mellen that September with a pup in a box and a fishing rod in the back seat, whistling “Shine On, Harvest Moon.” He’d already decided to name the new pup Gus if the name fit.Billy and Captain took to Vi’s pup at once. The two men walked into Billy’s backyard to discuss the merits of each of the pups in Captain’s litter and after a while one came bumbling over and that decided things. John Sawtelle put the spare collar on the pup and they spent the afternoon parked by a lake, shore fishing. Gus ate bits of sunfish roasted on a stick and they slept there in front of a fire, tethered collar to belt by a length of string.The next day, before heading home, Edgar’s grandfather thought he’d drive around a bit. The area was an interesting mix: the logged-off parts were ugly as sin, but the pretty parts were especially pretty. Like the falls. And some of the farm country to the west. Most especially, the hilly woods north of town. Besides, there were few things he liked better than steering the Kissel along those old back roads.Late in the morning he found himself navigating along a heavily washboarded dirt road. The limbs of the trees meshed overhead. Left and right, thick underbrush obscured everything farther than twenty yards into the woods. When the road finally topped out at a clearing, he was presented with a view of the Penokee range rolling out to the west, and an unbroken emerald forest stretching to the north — all the way, it seemed, to the granite rim of Lake Superior. At the bottom of the hill stood a little white farmhouse and a gigantic red barn. A milk house was huddled up near the front of the barn. An untopped stone silo stood behind. By the road, a crudely lettered sign read, “For Sale.”He pulled into the rutted drive. He parked and got out and peered through the living room windows. No one was home. The house looked barely finished inside. He stomped through the fields with Gus in his arms and when he got back he plunked himself down on the running board of the Kissel and watched the autumn clouds soar above.John Sawtelle was a tremendous reader and letter writer. He especially loved newspapers from faraway cities. He’d recently happened across an article describing a man named Gregor Mendel — a Czechoslovakian monk, of all things — who had done some very interesting experiments with peas. Had demonstrated, for starters, that he could predict how the offspring of his plants would look — the colors of their flowers and so on. Mendelism, this was being called: the scientific study of heredity.The article had dwelt upon the stupendous implications for the breeding of livestock. Edgar’s grandfather had been so fascinated that he’d gone to the library and located a book on Mendel and read it cover to cover. What he’d learned occupied his mind in odd moments. He thought back on the vision (if he could call it that) that had descended upon him as he shook Captain’s paw at The Hollow. It was one of those rare days when everything in a person’s life feels connected. He was twenty-five years old, but over the course of the last year his hair had turned steely gray. The same thing had happened to his grandfather, yet his father was edging up on seventy with a jet black mane. Nothing of the kind had happened to either of his elder brothers, though one was bald as an egg. Nowadays when John Sawtelle looked into the mirror he felt a little like a Mendelian pea himself.He sat in the sun and watched Gus, thick-legged and clumsy, pin a grasshopper to the ground, mouth it, then shake his head with disgust and lick his chops. He’d begun smothering the hopper with the side of his neck when he suddenly noticed Edgar’s grandfather looking on, heels set in the dirt driveway, toes pointed skyward. The pup bucked in mock surprise, as if he’d never seen this man before. He scrambled forward to investigate, twice going tail over teakettle as he closed the gap.It was, John Sawtelle thought, a lovely little place.Explaining Gus to his wife was going to be the least of his worries.IN FACT, IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG for the fuss to die down. When he wanted to, Edgar’s grandfather could radiate a charming enthusiasm, one of the reasons Mary had been attracted to him in the first place. He could tell a good story about the way things were going to be. Besides, they had been living in her parents’ house for over a year and she was as eager as he to get out on her own. They completed the purchase of the land by mail and telegram.This the boy Edgar would come to know because his parents kept their most important documents in an ammunition box at the back of their bedroom closet. The box was military gray, with a big clasp on the side, and it was metal, and therefore mouseproof. When they weren’t around he’d sneak it out and dig through the contents. Their birth certificates were in there, along with a marriage certificate and the deed and history of ownership of their land. But the telegram was what interested him most — a thick, yellowing sheet of paper with a Western Union legend across the top, its message consisting of just six words, glued to the backing in strips: OFFER ACCEPTED SEE ADAMSKI RE PAPERS. Adamski was Mr. Schultz’s lawyer; his signature appeared on several documents in the box. The glue holding those words to the telegram had dried over the years, and each time Edgar snuck it out, another word dropped off. The first to go was papers, then re, then see. Eventually Edgar stopped taking the telegram out at all, fearing that when accepted fluttered into his lap, his family’s claim to the land would be reversed.He didn’t know what to do with the liberated words. It seemed wrong to throw them away, so he dropped them into the ammo box and hoped no one would notice.From the Hardcover edition.

Bookclub Guide

1. How is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a coming of age novel?2. What is the significance of the epigraph to the novel, taken from Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species? How does it relate to the story it precedes? 3. What role do mysteries play in the novel? In what ways is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle a mystery?4. Telegrams, the shape of words, muteness, barking, crossword puzzles . . . what is the importance of words in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle? And what about things that can't be put into words?5. How are Sawtelle dogs different from other dogs? What role do they play in the telling of the novel, and how do their perceptions change your view of the human characters?6. What is the significance of the chapter titles (such as "A Thin Sigh," "Pirates," etc.) Did any surprise you, or give you pause?7. Hamlet is famously about a son seeking revenge for his father's death by poisoning (to be a little reductive). How does The Story of Edgar Sawtelle echo Hamlet? In what ways is it different?8. How is death and mourning described and experienced differently at different times in the book?9. How would you characterize the relationship between Edgar and his mother, Trudy?10. How would you describe the pacing of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle? What effect does it have on your experience of the book?11. How does The Story of Edgar Sawtelle compare to other books you have read which are prominently about animals? What makes it better or worse?12. What is the importance of magic in the novel?13. To what extent does Edgar create his own problems?14. What role do settings play in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle?15. "As they worked, they put the sky in place above, the trees in the ground. They invented colour and air and scent and gravity. Laughter and sadness."  Describe the different kinds of training in the book and what they contribute to your sense of the characters and the story.16. Why does Edgar leave the farm without waiting for Trudy's signal?17. "He wouldn't have gotten into the car with Henry if he hadn't trusted him. There were moments when Edgar understood Henry better than Henry understood himself. What Henry couldn't see was that, ordinary or not, he was trustworthy. That much was clear as day." How is trust important in the novel? How do people, and dogs, become trustworthy?18. In what ways is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle an American book?19. In its glowing review of the novel, The Washington Post Book World said that the idea of "a story about a mute boy and his dogs sets off alarm bells. . . . Handicapped kids and pets can make a toxic mix of sentimentality." How does The Story of Edgar Sawtelle avoid this danger?20. Why did David Wroblewski choose to end The Story of Edgar Sawtelle the way he does? What is the effect of the ending of the novel?

Editorial Reviews

"I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. . . . It’s a novel about the human heart, and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate. . . . I closed the book with that regret readers feel only after experiencing the best stories: It’s over, you think, and I won’t read another one this good for a long, long time. . . . There’s never been a book quite like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I thought of Hamlet . . . and Watership Down, and The Night of the Hunter, and The Life of Pi–but halfway through, I put all comparisons aside and let it just be itself. . . . Wonderful, mysterious, long and satisfying: readers who pick up this novel are going to enter a richer world. I envy them the trip. I don’t re-read many books, because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one."—Stephen King"I doubt we'll see a finer literary debut this year. . . . David Wroblewski’s got storytelling talent to burn and a big, generous heart to go with it."—Richard Russo"Don’t let the book’s massive size fool you: This is a good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn.Grade: A"—Entertainment Weekly"…here is a big-hearted novel you can fall into, get lost in and finally emerge from reluctantly, a little surprised that the real world went on spinning while you were absorbed...grand and unforgettable."—Washington Post Book World"The most enchanting debut novel of the summer....a great, big, mesmerizing read, audaciously envisioned as classic Americana...One of the great pleasures of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is its free-roaming, unhurried progress, enlivened by the author’s inability to write anything but guilelessly captivating prose."—New York Times"Whether you read for the beauty of language or for the intricacies of plot, you will easily fall in love with David Wroblewski’s generous, almost transcendentally lovely debut novel...the scope of this book, its psychological insight and lyrical mastery, make it one of the best novels of the year...."—O Magazine"In this beautifully written novel, David Wroblewski creates a remarkable hero who lives in a world populated as much by dogs as by humans, governed as much by the past as by the present. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a passionate, absorbing and deeply surprising debut."—Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street"A literary thriller with commercial legs, this stunning debut is bound to be a bestseller."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"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."—Dalia Sofer, bestselling author of The Septembers of Shiraz "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a wooly, unlikely, daring book, and wildly satisfying."—Mark Doty, New York Times bestselling author of Dog Years"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."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"An excruciatingly captivating read…Ultimately liberating, though tragic and heart-wrenching, this book is unforgettable."—Library Journal (starred review)"The Great American Novel is something like a unicorn — rare and wonderful, and maybe no more than just a notion. Yet every few years or so, we trip across some semblance of one.... [an] extraordinary debut." —Elle"The author’s spellbinding first novel…is nearly impossible to put down."—Kirkus Reviews, First Fiction SpecialFrom the Hardcover edition.