Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tuesday Book Group Reads The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Last week, the Tuesday Book Group discussed David Wroblewski’s popular new novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. The consensus? Well, there was none, which made for a great discussion. Of the six members present, at least two found the book excellent. Several praised Wroblewski’s beautiful and fluid writing style, and we all found his depiction of Edgar, the main character who communicates only in sign, technically ingenious. Other praise focused on the finely crafted descriptions of dog behavior and the natural world, as well as the author’s powerful retelling of the Hamlet story.

At least one group member, however, found the novel tedious, over-detailed, and overwrought. Several agreed, citing inconsistencies in the plot and numerous loose ends. But this didn’t stop the group from liking the book overall: Wroblewski’s rookie novel, if a bit long, is enjoyable to read and even more enjoyable to discuss. Many of the parts we had problems with actually enriched the discussion.

I’ll withhold the details to prevent spoiling the book for those of you who haven’t read it yet. Good news for those still waiting for a library copy: we purchased extra book club copies that will soon come into circulation. Look for “star” copies on the new books display!

The Tuesday Book Group reads classic books alongside modern works inspired by them (for example, Hamlet and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle). Kindred readers are welcome to join us the second Tuesday of the month at 1:00pm. On February 9th, we'll dive into Homer's classic Odyssey. Want to dodge scylla and charybdis with us? Contact the Reference Desk at, for more information. LO



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