The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

I thought I was reading a story about a mute boy and his family’s special dogs. When ghosts started showing up delivering psychic messages, it still seemed pretty cool, just not what I was expecting. Unfortunately, the surprises didn’t stop and the ending went beyond unexpected and into unsatisfying.

Still a good read for the dog parts, though.

I have just learned that this story is based on Hamlet, which I haven’t read; but the ghost parts, the brother-wife debacle and the ending now make a tiny bit more sense. However it makes me wonder if this book just didn’t do it right, or if Hamlet is that disjointed.



Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads in 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 thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm – and into Edgar’s mother’s affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father’s death, but his plan backfires – spectacularly. Forces to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.