The extraordinary debut novel that became a modern classic
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 remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family's traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.
Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the Sawtelle farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who accompany him, until the day he is forced to choose between leaving forever or returning home to confront the mysteries he has left unsolved.
Filled with breathtaking scenes—the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain—The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a meditation on the limits of language and what lies beyond, a brilliantly inventive retelling of an ancient story, and an epic tale of devotion, betrayal, and courage in the American heartland.
Critical Praise for The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
"I doubt we’ll see a finer literary debut this year than The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. David Wroblewski’s got storytelling talent to burn and a big, generous heart to go with it."
— RICHARD RUSSO, PULITZER PRIZE–WINNING AUTHOR OF EMPIRE FALLS
"Whether you read for the beauty of language or for the intricacies of plot, you will easily fall in love with David Wroblewski’s generous, almost transcendentally lovely debut novel...the scope of this book, its psychological insight and lyrical mastery, make it one of the best novels of the year...."
— O MAGAZINE
"A stunning first novel…a ranging story that is part coming of age, part mystery and part tragedy on the order of Hamlet…Wroblewski executes with elan, building an addicting tale peopled by fully dimensional characters. He carries the reader, with authority and confidence, on a thought-provoking ride."
— DENVER POST
"…here is a big-hearted novel you can fall into, get lost in and finally emerge from reluctantly, a little surprised that the real world went on spinning while you were absorbed...grand and unforgettable."
— WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
"The most enchanting debut novel of the summer....a great, big, mesmerizing read, audaciously envisioned as classic Americana...One of the great pleasures of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is its free-roaming, unhurried progress, enlivened by the author’s inability to write anything but guilelessly captivating prose.
— NEW YORK TIMES
"This luminescent story has the kind of sprawling, wide-lens focus that readers think of when they talk about the so-called ‘great American novel.’"
— CAPITAL TIMES (MADISON, WI)
"…a stunningly well-written novel…"
— PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE
Don’t let the book’s massive size fool you: This is a good old-fashioned coming-of-age yarn. Grade: A
— ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY