I can’t say enough about David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It is a strange and wonderful novel that hooks the reader in a myriad of ways. The passages in which he describes nature are so lyrical and beautifully written, I stopped to reread them several times, marveling at the author’s striking turn of phrase and loving detail in which he renders the ordinary interesting.
The story is told from multiple points of view: through the eyes and heart of Edgar, a boy who is born mute, Edgar’s parents, his uncle and his beloved dog named Almondine, not to mention the parade of eccentrics that inhabit the Sawtelle’s world.
You could say it’s a story about the relationship between dogs and humans, animal husbandry, and training methods and you’d be right, but the heart of the book is a story about love and family, sibling rivalry, jealously and profound evil, with a touch of magic. Oh, and I forgot, a ghost.
Although it took me several chapters to warm up to the story, I was soon hooked. Halfway through the book, I felt as if I’d entered a world so totally alive that I never wanted the story to end. The plot is so organic that when an event surprises you in the story and many do, you suddenly say to yourself, I should have expected that, but of course you don’t. That’s true of every good plot.
The last few chapters of the book had me breathless, flipping the pages, my heart beating and sweat pouring down my brow. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but trust me, the ending is really dramatic. That this is a first novel absolutely floored me. The power of this book is amazing. Read it. You won’t be sorry, I promise.