The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski has been in my tbr stack for what seems like years. It can't have been that long... This is the author's debut novel, published in 2008. I enjoyed the book and found it a good and fascinating read, but I admit I'm not planning on a re-read very soon.
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life on his family's farm in remote northern Wisconsin where they raise and train an extraordinary breed of dog. But when tragedy strikes, Edgar is forced to flee into the vast neighboring wilderness, accompanied by only three yearling pups. Struggling for survival, Edgar comes of age in the wild, and must face the choice of leaving forever or revealing the terrible truth behind what has happened. A riveting family saga as well as a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is destined to become a modern classic.
The author has a site here. Oprah featured it as one of her book club selections and has a reader's guide here. The Washington Post calls it an "American Hamlet". The Chicago Tribune calls it "meaty, masterly" and "ambitious, accomplished" and even likes its few flaws, saying, "Is it not, after all, the blemish in beauty that most enchants us?" EW gives it an "A". Kirkus Reviews concludes:
An auspicious debut: a boon for dog lovers, and for fans of storytelling that eschews flash. Highly recommended.