Atmosphere

Review: Dog Days

A new Colorado author crafts a literary masterpiece.

August 2008

David Wroblewski has created an instant classic with his first novel. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a poignant portrayal of a boy's uncanny relationship with the dogs his family breeds and trains on their remote northern Wisconsin farm. Edgar, who was born mute but blessed with a sharp intellect, happily passes his days signing to both humans and dogs alike. When his childhood oblivion is shattered by his father's sudden death and the mysterious reappearance of his untrustworthy uncle, Edgar sets out, accompanied by his canine protégés, on a truth-seeking journey through the forest. His trek ultimately grants him the enlightened clarity he needs to return to the farm—bringing consequences no one could have predicted.

Though Wroblewski lives in Colorado, he so ardently describes the rural Wisconsin of his childhood as a living, breathing setting that the landscape becomes a character in its own right. And Edgar's coming-of-age evolves in such harmony with the painstakingly crafted personas of the Sawtelle dogs that even non-dog-lovers will be captivated by Wroblewski's unassuming and utterly perceptive narrative. —JD

May We Recommend
The Colorado Bookshelf
Three local books we're talking about this month.

Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason
By Diana DeGette

Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette is outraged, and she wants the world to know it. In this scathing denunciation of all things Republican—or, perhaps more accurately, all things unfairly politicized by religious dogma—DeGette fearlessly takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of passing pro-choice, pro-stem cell research, and pro-sex education legislation on a Capitol Hill commandeered by the Bush administration, peppering her argument with indignant jabs at her colleagues. Her righteous tone can be overbearing, and the play-by-play politicking is a lot to digest, but her message—that federal law should be based on ethical scientific research rather than closed-door religious ideology—is right on. —JD

No Higher Calling, No Greater Responsibility: A Prosecutor Makes His Case
By John Suthers

In this forthright autobiographical account, Colorado attorney general John W. Suthers looks back on 30 years of personal experience as a local, state, and federal litigator to explain the powerful role the prosecutor plays in the criminal justice system. With a candid approach informed by his spiritual roots in Catholicism, Suthers examines the criminal mind from an array of analytical perspectives (see chapter three on the seven deadly sins). Illustrated with myriad accounts of dramatic CSI-esque cases, this quick read reveals one man's life within Colorado's criminal justice system as much as it illuminates the system itself. —AI

The Fidelity Files
By Jessica Brody

Chick-lit aficionados will find former Coloradan Jessica Brody's first novel, The Fidelity Files, deliciously out there and impossible to put down. Brody's protagonist, Jennifer, is a twentysomething who makes a lucrative living as a fidelity inspector—a sexy temptress hired by suspicious women to test their men for intention to cheat. But she only lets the "assignments" escalate enough to ascertain that the guys in question would go all the way before she busts them with their pants down—literally. Jennifer is convinced that she's helping humanity by exposing the unfaithful, until one chance encounter threatens to end her double-agent career. Realistic? Doubtful. But it's a fabulous way to spend a six-hour flight. —JD