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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
In The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Edgar Sawtelle is a mute boy growing up on a Wisconsin farm that trains a unique breed of dogs. Edgar uses a sign language that lets him communicate easily with both his parents and the dogs. When his Uncle Claude comes to live at the farm, and then his father dies under mysterious circumstances, Edgar takes three dogs and heads for the woods. Edgar and the dogs struggle for survival in the wild, but he knows he'll have to eventually return and confront his uncle. David Wroblewski's debut novel has received glowing reviews with the New York Times saying, "One of Mr. Wroblewski's most impressive accomplishments here is to exert a strong, seemingly effortless gravitational pull. The reader who has no interest in dogs, boys or Oedipal conflicts of the north woods of Wisconsin will nonetheless find these things irresistible. Pick up this book and expect to feel very, very reluctant to put it down."