The Story of Edgar Sawtelle takes place in the northern Wisconsin countryside in the middle of the 20th Century. Set against this idyllic backdrop, with an iconic red barn as its centerpiece, Larry Wroblewski breathes life into a quintessential coming-of-age story – the story about a boy and his dogs – that, on the surface, seems to capture the pastoral American dream. Wroblewski, however, subtly transcends these recognizable conventions with a story that is, at once, surprisingly modern and tragically universal.
Using Shakespeare’s Hamlet as an armature for its plot, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is an archetypal story of greed, sorrow, legacy, and madness. And despite the fact that we recognize the plot’s major landmarks and know the story’s ultimate destination, we cannot help but marvel at the intricacy and depth of Wroblewski’s storytelling. For him, the plot is merely a jumping-off point to explore the richness of life from numerous points of view (even a dog’s).
Edgar Sawtelle is a fourteen-year-old boy, who was born mute, perfectly healthy but unable to utter a single voiced word, who speaks to his mother and father in a half-invented sign language. His gift is an uncanny ability to communicate with the Sawtelle dogs, a fictional family breed, started by Edgar’s grandfather, who’s vision was to create the “next dog,” the perfect ideal of man’s best friend Read the rest of this entry »