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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle    by David Wroblewski order for
Story of Edgar Sawtelle
by David Wroblewski
Order:  USA  Can
Ecco, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A haunting story of a youth doomed from birth not to be fully understood because he is mute, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has been likened to that of Hamlet. That may be so, but it certainly stands on its own. Painstakingly researched, it has much to say about man's relationship to dogs and vice versa.

Edgar is born into a family of dog-raising people, from his grandfather to his father, uncle and mother. The Sawtelle dogs are famous for both their lineage and their training, and Edgar early on shows great talent in handling them - his muteness is no hindrance. But with his father's sudden death, the whole family is thrown off track, and Edgar feels it is up to him to put matters right. How he comes to learn what is really important occupies much of the book and leads directly to the intense ending.

This is a beautifully written story. At times Edgar seems more mature than his chronological age would warrant, but his sensitivity is made understandable by the author. The other characters in the book (including the dogs, especially Almondine and Essay) are vividly portrayed, but the story definitely belongs to Edgar and his struggle to make sense of what he knows but cannot express. This is a book you will recommend to your friends.

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