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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Discussion

This book gripped me. Not only was the language astonishingly beautiful, but the relationship of Edgar and his dogs touched me.

I am the kind of person that is fully affected by the things I read or watch. This book was very difficult for me due to that fact. Mr. Wroblewski made me love these characters, truly care about them. I spent days worrying until I could get back to the book. I was saddened by each downturn and of course the ending practically killed me. So I left this book extremely conflicted. Even now, writing this I feel confused how to express it.

It is a beautiful story, true to its origins (a modern day remake of a Shakespearean play) and wrought with powerful words and images which could not help but bore into my being. But that boring, it hurt. I found myself thinking of the book long after having finished and feeling so depressed about it. So that where I would tell you any book that grips me enough to have me thinking about it so heavily long after it's done is surely a book worth reading, I would also admit that I'm not sure I would ever read it again. But only because I'm not sure I could read it again. In the end that is endorsement enough to induce a shining review from me. I loved it, I would recommend it to anyone I know, I am glad I read it in spite of the heart rending it inflicted on me.


de said...

I loved it too. I spaced out that the discussion started today, so I'll be back later in the week to say something more.

jaded said...

The author's command of language reeled me in. Even if the plot had not been so well developed, I would have finished the book, just for the imagery.

I knew nothing about the story, so I didn't have much of a preconceived notion, other than it might be tragic since it had the Oprah Book Club seal on the cover. I was caught off guard by the paranormal elements. They were pertinent to the story, but introduced so slowly, I wasn't anticipating the plot to shift that way.

There way a part of me that was curious about Edgar's mother's past. It planted a seed for my mind to swirl. I was equally pleased the author used as a hint rather than shifting the focus of the story to take us off track. It was pertinent to know she was damaged, but necessary to the plot to know why.

In the end, I found myself longing for the companionship of this fictitious dog breed.

Gordo said...

The language and imagery were incredible and I was wrecked by the ending as well. I kept hoping for Edgar to unmask his uncle and was initially disappointed that it never came, but I think that also took a lot of courage on the author's part.

Yet another wonderful choice. :-)

de said...

I'm horrible sick, but I can't sleep any more.

I found my note, but (no surprise) I don't remember what I might have been going to say about it.

You guys will flesh it out, I know.

I wrote:

Impossibility of certainty> breeding program

(I didn't think that Edgar Sawtelle was a "retelling" of Hamlet. Just that there were some carry-over elements - most not as obvious/deliberate as Claude/Claudius & Trudy/Gertrude. This note referred to the connection between Hamlet's struggle with uncertainty and the painstaking research behind the Sawtelle dog breeding program. Certainly, toward the end, Edgar failed to act decisively because he lacked "evidence" of Claude's treachery.)

words are used to communicate but also to distort, manipulate

(Although Edgar was mute, he communicated well and clearly. The high level of communication between people and the Sawtelle dogs - completely "wordless." Claude was fascinating, with both a silver and a forked tongue.)

Like you all, I loved the author's writing style. I had the rare pleasure of reading this book in almost one sitting because it coincided with the beginning of my son's high fever, so we both crashed on the couch for a couple of days.

The methods of dog training described in this book are like the ones our trainer, Christine Franklin, uses at her business, First Command. Reading about dog training, one of my interests, brought another level of enjoyment in the book for me. Even though I know how much of a commitment it is to train a dog this way, I felt inspired again, and a little guilty that we allow Pepper to be such a couch potato.