This novel is a wonderfully imaginative re-telling of the Hamlet story. The hero, Edgar Sawtelle, is mute and lives on a farm with his parents. He makes up a form of sign language to communicate with them and with the “Sawtelle” dogs that the family breeds on the farm. Loosely but faithfully following the plot of Hamlet, Edgar’s father dies and Edgar is convinced that his uncle is to blame and is now wooing Edgar’s mother. There is a misunderstanding and a death, and Edgar leaves home with a few of the Sawtelle dogs to accompany him.
It a great coming-of-age story and Edgar is a unique character. I love tragedy and Hamlet is one of the best, so I really enjoyed the take this novel had on the story. After I finished it, I was surprised to hear that it was Oprah’s next book club pick, and while I am happy that more people will read it because of this, I also hope that they won’t be disappointed by the tragic elements.
–Reviewed by Donna Bacchiocchi, Manager of Technical Services
Check It Out
Check the library catalog to see whether this book is currently available.
Wroblewski’s debut novel has received high praise from writers including Richard Russo, Stephen King, and Mark Doty and starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal (read what critics are saying).