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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (Oprah's Book Club) Hardcover – Oct 2008


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco Press; First Edition First Printing edition (Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061768065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061768064
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,062,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘I read it last summer and I could not stop. It’s also a first novel, a true labour of love.’ Audrey Niffenegger, Guardian (Books of the Year)

'Stately and expansive narrative. Wroblewski's story builds on foundations provided by past literature but has an originality all its own.' Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

‘It must be the closest anyone came in 2008 to writing the “Great American Novel”.’ Guardian (Books of the Year)

‘[A] most enchanting debut novel. A great, big, mesmerising read. Pick up this book and expect to feel very, very reluctant to put it down.’ New York Times

‘A big-hearted novel you can fall into, get lost in and finally emerge from reluctantly. Tender and suspenseful … grand and unforgettable.’ Washington Post

'I flat-out loved “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”.’ Stephen King

‘An incredible journey that seems to have everything going for it; the beauty and flair of a great literary novel, the scale and pacing of a fantasy epic, and the absorbing thrill-ride of any glorious rites-of-passage adventure from our collective childhoods.’ Sunday Business Post

Scotsman (Books of the Year)

‘Remarkable.’ Uncut magazine (Books of the Year)

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Wroblewski lives in Colorado with the poet Kimberly McClintock. ‘The Story of Edgar Sawtelle’ is his first novel.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Sheldrake on 2 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
I had great expectations of this book, having read the gushing, rave reviews. It was a challenging read to which happily I committed myself, full of American colloquialisms, the meanings of which one sometimes had to guess at. It was satisfyingly long, at times poetic and absorbing but I never did quite get to grips with the imagery of the house, land and barn layout in spite of copious descriptions.

What really annoyed me was the totally unsatisfying resolution to the suspense/thriller/mystery element of the story at the end. How could the writer have spent so much time and effort leading us carefully through the meandering twists and turns of the story, and then abandon the patient, trusting reader at the very end? I don't need a happy ending but I need an ending. Perhaps it is thought to be clever but I cannot recommend it to my friends (having talked with them about the promising content as I went along) because of the ending. I felt I had wasted a whole lot of time and effort on what looked like a promising read, only to be badly let down by the author at the end.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Littlepig Littlepig on 17 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not going to write a long review because I don't want you to spend hours reading it. I want you to go off and read "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" instead and I can't help thinking every second you're not doing that, you're missing out.

This is a book of incredible power: it is beautifully almost poetically written, yet it is also very raw and personable. The plotline follows Hamlet, so you can guess vaguely what is going to happen, yet every page delivers a shock. As the denouement came ever closer I found myself reading more slowly, feeling sick with nerves.

Edgar, the protagonist, is a mute boy living in a closeknit family which breeds and trains dogs. The happy unit is blown apart by the sudden and shocking death of his father. As his uncle becomes ever closer to his mother, Edgar becomes more and more isolated. Upon his return, justice is served in a most unexpected fashion, no matter how well you know The Bard's story.

I will be buying this book for everyone I know. It left me breathless, tearful and overwhelmed; a real rollercoaster of a novel, the like of which I have not read in a long time. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Siciliano on 20 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
To call "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" a tragedy is to give the thing away, but there is no path around it.

From the first pages of this long tale of an ill-fated Wisconsin family, writer David Wroblewski soaks his reader in a prose that reeks of foreboding and skillfully draws-out the deep vulnerability hidden beneath layers of illusion in all of us.

There is a strange prologue involving the death by poisoning of a dog in the back streets of an unnamed Korean city during the time of America's military action in that country.

And poison is the story here, both literally and metaphorically. "Edgar Sawtelle" tells how a fateful act committed years before can affect so many people so many years after. It tells how one bad seed in a family can poison the well for all the rest.

Wroblewski's large and first opus is set in mid-20th Century Wisconsin on a kennel started by a man who purchased a pretty parcel from an unlucky farmer and seemed to assume and bequeath that bad luck to his son and those of his immediate family.

It is a dog story, among many other kinds of story including family drama, road adventure, and small-town yarn writ large with life's big questions. It is certainly more than the New York Times best-seller list summary, which imparts, "A mute takes refuge with three dogs in the Wisconsin woods after his father's death," which turns the neat trick of getting it all wrong while being right in the particular.

But that's why Wroblewski wrote 562 pages and not a sentence and also why writers hate summaries.

Here is a detailed dissection of life on a kennel that, even in the 1950s, "placed" dogs with owners at a clip of $1,500 each.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NeuroSplicer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
David Wroblewski's debut novel is one that stays with you for a very long time. Built around a classic Hamletian scaffolding, it quickly acquires its own original character of a classic novel.

A mute boy, Edgar, is coming of age in a family that raises a special breed of highly intelligent dogs. The strained yet strangely idyllic balance between the uncommunicative boy and the overly communicative dogs soon shatters. Tragedy interlaced with mysteries come rushing in as the father dies and an uncle steps in his place.
When the father's apparitions seem to bring up murder and its investigation precipitates even more tragedy, Edgar runs away in the companion of his dogs...but I digress: I would not want to spoil it for anyone.

Beautiful prose, insightful descriptions of both human and canine emotions and a grasping story make this novel one that you too will greatly enjoy! As a bonus, if you already share your life with a dog, you will appreciate it more; if not, prepare to experience an intense urge to adopt one.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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