That this is the only book I've read this year.
But it was sooo good!
I bought it with a Christmas gift card (thanks sis-in-law) and started it back in late January or so but then just didn't have the mental or emotional energy to read during so much of the ups and downs of our life over these past four months. My mom got the book way after me and finished way before me.
But if I was only going to read one book the first half of the year, this was a good choice. I first heard about it on NPR's book review series that has a reviewer pick three books with some kind of connection. This was part of a Shakespeare series. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has, at its center, a Hamlet story. Set in a rural Minnesota of some years past, its also a beautiful Americana story, in love with its setting. The Sawtelles are a close knit family of three. Edgar is his parents' only child and also mute. The family breeds Sawtelle dogs, a fictional but amazing dog, and stays cloistered in their family and business. The beginning is a bit slow in parts but necessary as it builds to the action. Part of my reluctance to really get into the story though is the beauty of their family life in the beginning since I knew tragedy would come a'knockin' courtesy of a jealous and emotionally distant brother.
Wrobleski handles his plot source carefully. The Sawtelles' kingdom is idyllic though sinister forces of people and inner demons arise. And while you can make direct connections from the Shakespeare characters and plot devices to ones in this modern tale, the story is enjoyable and rich on its own. I especially liked Edgar's coming-of-age escape into the wilderness--a portion of the original play that we don't see. Wrobleski also continues the existential themes of Hamlet--fatalism, destiny, purpose of life. And he also handles the supernatural well, not neglecting those pivotal moments.
And update on the TX house: everything is progressing smoothly. We will close, pack, and move the week of May 4th. (I get a house for Mother's Day this year). Keep praying that the FL house sells and sells soon!