Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an 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 farmand 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 backfiresspectacularly. Forced 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.
David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenesthe elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling raincreate a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
A Handful of Leaves
In the year 1919, Edgars grandfather, who was born with an extra share of whimsy, bought their land and all the buildings on it from a man hed never met, a man named Schultz, who in his turn had walked away from a logging team half a decade earlier after seeing the chains on a fully loaded timber sled let go. Twenty tons of rolling maple buried a man where Schultz had stood the moment before. As he helped unpile logs to extract the wretched mans remains, Schultz remembered a pretty parcel of land hed spied north and west of Mellen. The morning he signed the papers he rode one of his ponies along the logging road to his new property and picked out a spot in a clearing below a hill and by nightfall a workable pole stable stood on that ground. The next day he fetched the other pony and filled a yoked cart with supplies and the three of them walked back to his crude homestead, Schultz on foot, reins in ...
As a shaggy dog tale, it doesn't get much better. The dogs practically luminesce in the gorgeous, precise prose with which Wroblewski conjures them. He is equally good at describing the dogs' physical characteristics and their inner lives ...
Dog lovers will take to this book like, well, like a retriever to water (beware, though, that you may come away feeling badly about treating your own dog like a pet rather than a glowingly, steadfastly sentient being). Yet the book also transcends its subject matter, and anyone who loves a good yarn, one that confidently soars well past the borders of believability, will take to it as well—and might even find themselves with the urge to head down to their local animal shelter. (Reviewed by Amy Reading).
Full Review (1213 words).
Dog Training Methods & The Seeing Eye
Edgar Sawtelle would not have much to sayor signto the Dog Whisperer. Cesar Millan, the star of "The Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic Channel, is known for his "pack-oriented" philosophy, which traces canine behavior back to their survival instinct for living in highly organized packs led by a single, strong leader. As Millan's website states, "[I]n order to properly fulfill both our dogs and ourselves, we each need to become our canine's calm-assertive pack leader." And so Millan teaches dog owners to exert dominance over their dogsa practice found in many dog behavior books. His work has drawn criticism from other trainers who believe that countering ...
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