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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski I resisted reading this book when it first came out, as I often do with books that receive an enormous amount of hype. However, my friend and my dog's trainer recently gave the book to me and so I was nudged toward it. I wish I had liked it more. It is often referred to as "Hamlet of Wisconsin" and I suppose the part of the plot involving a ghostly father and a an uncle hopping into Mum's bed justifies the comparison, but frankly, when it comes to Hamlet, I missed Ophelia. Wroblewski can write prose. He uses some terrific phrases and writes a fine description, but I found the pacing very herky-jerky and the character motivations oddly opaque. Several plot lines seemed to fade into nothing (the prophetic old lady for example), and a number of the hinge-events seemed overly sentimental and a little maudlin.As a dog lover, I was at first charmed by the detail the author puts into the descriptions of dog behavior and psychology, but page after page after page of it inevitably got in the way. I'm surprised an editor didn't ask Wroblewski to choose between writing a dog training/breeding manual and a novel.As I said, I think Wroblewski knows how to turn a phrase (otherwise the book would have earned only 2 stars), I'm afraid in the end I just wasn't interested enough in the characters, or what happened to them, and the fact I enjoyed the brief passages written from Almondine's (one of the dogs) point of view more than anything else, isn't a good sign.