(Yes, it’s been awhile since I last posted anything here. What can I say other than that other things in my life took forefront? And, like with many activities in my life, I go through phases and cycles with blogging. I can’t make any promises about upcoming frequency of posts, but I’m sure there will be some, sometime. So if anyone has stuck around and is reading this, thanks for still reading even with my irregular posting!)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski, started out very promising. I looked forward to a great American tale – a “modern classic,” as the book flap said – and for the first 200 pages or so (out of 562), it seemed to be living up to those expectations. I was engaged, it had potential, and the 200 pages had gone by quickly, in that good way of great long books. However, as I got further into it, it started losing me. It began to feel long and my interest in the storyline dwindled. I read in little bits and pieces but did not feel compelled to keep reading. The story became quite painful at times, and also introduced an element of the paranormal, which was unexpected and a bit odd. Not surprisingly, it ended tragically (I don’t feel that I am giving too much away here, as it was fairly predictable that it would end in tragedy).
Overall, my sense of the book is that Wroblewski set out to write a “great” novel, but he did not fully succeed. His efforts were a little too forced. I didn’t quite get what grand meaning he was trying to convey through this story.
In terms of style, his writing is quite good and flows well, but does not stand out to me as superb. He does not strike me as an author I would read specifically for the writing. However, his descriptions were quite evocative and he did make me want to visit that part of Wisconsin (and almost made me want a dog – but I am not a dog person, so not quite). If the writing had not been good, it is likely I would not have finished the book.
I realize that this has been a very popular book, on bestseller lists, so I am curious to hear from some people who really liked it. If you have read it, what did you find great about it? What was the meaning to you?