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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

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This is the author’s first novel and what a masterpiece it is. Edgar is deaf and has grown up in an idyllic world with his parents and their specially trained breed of dogs, in the heart of America. The return of a long lost uncle to the farm changes the peaceful dynamic and when Edgar’s father suddenly dies nothing is ever the same again. Original, dramatic and totally engrossing.

A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher...

The novel is loosely based on the story of Hamlet but what we really have a page-turning, utterly compelling story of a young mute boy called Edgar and his relationship with a special breed of dogs that were created and raised by his family for generations. It is part ghost story and part family saga with Edgar at it centre as a mesmerising and heartbreaking fictional hero. When the family is struck by tragedy, Edgar goes on the run, accompanied by three loyal dogs and his quest for safety provides a classic coming-of-age story and of course a heart wrenching conclusion when he returns home. The world around you does not exist while you’re reading this novel.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

A literary debut of stark and striking brilliance -- a coming-of-age story, set in the remote wilderness of northern Wisconsin. Born mute and able to communicate only by sign, the brilliant Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents Gar and Trudy. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomised by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong companion. But when his beloved father mysteriously dies, Edgar blames himself, if only because his muteness left him unable to summon help. Grief-stricken and bewildered by his mother's desperate affair with her dead husband's brother, Edgar's world unravels one spring night when, in the falling rain, he sees his father's ghost. After a botched attempt to prove that his uncle orchestrated Gar's death, Edgar flees into the Chequamegon wilderness leading three yearling dogs. Yet his need to face his father's murderer, and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs, turn Edgar ever homeward. When he returns, nothing is as he expects, and Edgar must choose between revenge or preserving his family legacy!


'I read it last summer and I could not stop. It's also a first novel, a true labour of love.'
Audrey Niffenegger, Guardian (Book 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

'[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

Uncut magazine (Book of the Year)

About the Author

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

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd July 2009


David Wroblewski

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


384 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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