The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a wonderfully written book by a truly talented author. The story is compelling, the characters intriguing, the language beautiful and the reading of it effortless. For such a lengthy book (almost 600 pages), I was amazed how quickly I finished it. It pulled me in and was a delight to read.
Edgar is a remarkable child who lives with his parents who are dog breeders. No ordinary dogs, however, but 'Sawtelle dogs' with amazing skills. The dogs play a large role in the book. I have never spent a large amount of time around dogs so I don't know how much of the dogs' behaviour is realistic and how much is bordering on fantasy. However, Wrobewski brings the dogs to life and they are as full in character as the humans of the novel.
The main character - other than the Sawtelle Dogs! - is Edgar who is a young boy who is mute but is possibly a better communicator than most other people. He is clearly gifted in many ways and this becomes more and more apparent as the book progresses. He is clever, insightful and an excellent dog handler/trainer. The story is about Edgar Sawtelle and the tragedy that befalls his family and what follows next. But it's about many other things as well: love, loss, friendship, loneliness, family. It's hard to talk too much about the story without giving things away. The best thing to do is read it. It has been likened to Hamlet but as one other reader says, it stands alone as its own story.
Finishing the book felt a little like emerging from a gripping dream, trying to stay asleep for just a few more minutes because you want to stay immersed in it for a little longer. It's a book that inspires many emotions, not least of all disappointment because you've reach the end of those 576 pages. It's certainly a book to put on the shelf and read again at some point, at which time I doubt it will be any the less engaging.