Weighing in at about 600 pages., this is no weekend read. I was intimidated by the length since I was using a public library copy with a 3 week checkout limit and no hope of renewing it--too many waiting in line. It is well worth the time invested to make your way through it. Not since THIS HOUSE OF SKY, Ivan Doig’s first book, have I caught myself rereading whole paragraphs or even chapters just for the sheer joy of relishing the elegant language. Not only is this book crafted superbly; it is also a great story well told.
The main character is a young mute boy living on a Wisconsin farm that for generations has attempted to breed a superior dog, colloquially known as the “Sawtelle” dog. The bond between Edgar and his dog, Almondine, is palatably visceral and reminds me so much of my relationship with Sambo (see earlier post). I loved experiencing Edgar's world: the farm, the countryside, the characters that inhabited it and especially the dogs. Wroblewski has penned a perfect description of the bond between human and animal that defies what we understand to be the “natural order of things”. I’m loathe to read anything else for awhile, such is the hold this book has on me!