The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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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.
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780385664790
9780385664783
Branch Call Number: WRO
Characteristics: 562 pages ; 24 cm

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f
fntchua4597
Nov 13, 2016

1

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Warru37
Apr 11, 2016

FEBRUARY 2017 BOOK CLUB

k
KatherineHere
Mar 11, 2016

My sister recommended this book to me. Not only did I hate it, I was miffed at the time wasted (it's long), and will never accept a book recommendation from my sister again. Actually, I don't think she even read it.

h
hildesanders
Feb 02, 2016

I have to say, this book had the worst ending to any book i've ever read. What was the point? The story was not about the mother yet she was the only one who survived. Why would you end a book this way? Edgar risks his life getting most of his fathers' files out of a burning barn yet still dies in the end leaving incomplete records of the sawtelle dog breed? What a crock! I was so dissappointed in the ending. It should have ended with Edgars mother confessing she was wrong about her husbands brother and Edgar and his mother reuniting and carring on his father's legacy. The writing was excellent, the characters unique, but the ending was horrible!

s
schmadrian
Dec 28, 2015

A beautiful piece of writing. The author certainly has chops. This is the second time I've read it; I saw him at the Harbourfront series back in '08. Super nice guy.

Unfortunately, the ending is- Well, I'll be charitable and say 'unsatisfying'. I felt cheated, I felt betrayed...I felt like I'd just read a 'shaggy-dog tale'.

As much as I appreciate his abilities, as numerous as the wonderful bits were, I would not recommend this novel. The ending is that abysmal. (The sad thing is that there was a way for him to end it where the reader isn't sufficiently incensed to throw the thing against the nearest wall.)

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dkrmwiz
Jul 23, 2015

i couldn't believe i spent 5 days on and off reading this book and it ended so horribly! i did not know it was based on hamlet. if i would have known that, i never would have wasted my time on this horrid book. if you like lots of reading, and i mean lots of reading, then a tragic ending... read this book. otherwise, leave it on the shelf. i lost time reading that i'll never get back :(

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frustranisi
May 26, 2015

This is a story on the level of epic tales even though it takes place on a much smaller stage: Three generations of a Wisconsin farm family in the modern era that has developed a unique dog breed over the years. Look elsewhere if you are looking for a story with a happy ending. This book will haunt me for a very long time. And I wish the author would get busy and publish another epic tale!

j
Jarmstr1
Jan 08, 2015

I didn't read anything about this book beforehand, just a recommendation by a friend because she knows I am a dog lover. I was loving this book until the ending which was an awful ending to a very good book. The author didn't have to end it that way, it really destroyed the book for me.

Lanni_T Dec 17, 2014

A novel based on Macbeth, with the plot so unbelievable, the characters so undeveloped and the story so wretched as if the author himself hated it. Ironically, it was on Oprah's list a few years ago, recommended to millions of people.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 08, 2014

Great material on dog training and animal behavior. The story is a bit overwritten and monumentally tragic, but then, since it's based on Hamlet, what else could it be?

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Emily38
Dec 19, 2009

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 Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turnmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peacefull home. When Edgar's father dies sudenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm - and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires - spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

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