The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
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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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...
"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."
"Don’t let the book’s massive size fool you: This is a good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn.Grade: A"
"…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...."
"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."
"The author’s spellbinding first novel…is nearly impossible to put down."
—Kirkus Reviews, First Fiction Special
From the Hardcover edition.