You know it’s getting close to Autumn when Carl issues his RIP Challenge! This is the third year I’ve participated and I pretty much chose the easy route this year; reading two books (Peril the Second, as it’s called). My first book is: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (published 2008, fiction, 576 pages, ISBN-10: 0061374229 & ISBN-13: 978-0061374227)
The book was reviewed better than I ever could by the amazing Stephen King:
“I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Dog-lovers in particular will be riveted by this story, because the canine world has never been explored with such imagination or emotional resonance. Yet in the end, this isn’t a novel about dogs or heartland America — although it is a deeply American work of literature. It’s a novel about the human heart, and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate. Yet in the person of Edgar Sawtelle, a mute boy who takes three of his dogs on a brave and dangerous odyssey, Wroblewski does articulate them, and splendidly. I closed the book with that regret readers feel only after experiencing the best stories: It’s over, you think, and I won’t read another one this good for a long, long time. [me: Oh, so very true!!!]
In truth, there has never been a book quite like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I thought of Hamlet when I was reading it (of course… and in this version, Ophelia turns out to be a dog named Almondine), and Watership Down, and The Night of the Hunter, and The Life of Pi — but halfway through, I put all comparisons aside and let it just be itself.
I’m pretty sure this book is going to be a bestseller, but unlike some, it deserves to be. It’s also going to be the subject of a great many reading groups, and when the members take up Edgar, I think they will be apt to stick to the book and forget the neighborhood gossip.
Wonderful, mysterious, long and satisfying: readers who pick up this novel are going to enter a richer world. I envy them the trip. I don’t reread many books, because life is too short. I will be rereading this one.”
My comments: I had heard absolutely nothing about this book when I walked into the local Barnes and Noble with my friend Michelle, who pointed it out to me and said, “I think that’s a book you’d like.” and as usual, she was quite right. This is an absolutely amazing first novel; part ghost story, part gut-wrenching drama, I absolutely could not put it down! Oh, how I envy those of you that haven’t read this yet; you are in for an amazing ride. As stated in the Kirkus Reviews: “The story takes Jungle Book-ish turns…It resolves, however, in ways that will satisfy grown-up readers.”
Keep the tissues handy…
You can read the first chapter here and even better, there’s an excerpt about the dog named Almondine here at the author’s website. And if you’d like to see what other folks are reading for this challenge, click here