In which I don’t tell the story of Edgar Sawtelle.

5154O5CMlHLSummer, as we’ve previously discussed, can be good for all kinds of reading, depending on your taste and your mood. Obviously, it’s perfect for perusing lovely, summery picture books. Or for chuckling your way through a ridiculous romp in the tropics. Or for thinking back to that one summer when everything changed. But summer can also be the time to pick up a nice, fat literary novel and get lost in it.

Maybe I just think The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a good summer book because summer is when I read it for the first time, but it really is the kind of story that makes you just want your life to stop until you finish, and for most people I think the best chance of that is sometime in August. But whatever. Read it in July, read it in January—the point is, read it. And be prepared to have your heart broken in that delicious, aching way any reader understands.

Honestly, I’m not sure what else to say. I could talk about the plot (a loose retelling of Hamlet set in Wisconsin), the characters (a mute boy named Edgar, his parents and his uncle, a dog named Almondine), or the writing (lyrical but propulsive, elegant but raw), but that wouldn’t give you a sense of the story, and for this one even more than for most novels, the story is what it’s all about. So I think I’ll just let David Wroblewski be the one to tell it.

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