Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Peace in Tragedy

Last night, at about 1:30 a.m. (I should say this morning), I finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. This was a book that I could not put down, and stole away to find time to read whenever I could. It was that good.

As you know from my last post about this book (click here to see it), I had been warned. I knew to expect tragedy, and tragedy did indeed come. However, based on the warnings that I had received, I imagined a much greater, much more cruel, and much more unjust tragedy than that which occurred. Not to say bad things don't happen in this book - they do. However at the end, I expected to feel angry and full of adrenaline, and instead, I was left with a feeling that everything ended peacefully, and to some extent, fairly.

This was an amazingly well written book. One of my favorite aspects of this book was the obvious foreshadowing. Sometimes, especially in children's books or first novels, the foreshadowing is so obvious that it is annoying and clumsy. In Edgar the foreshadowing is blatant. You stop yourself and say "Remember this. This will be important later." And it is. But instead of feeling clumsy, it feels like you are being told a secret that you need to keep. This is David Wroblewski's first novel, but it doesn't feel like it is.

Some of the questions that I wanted answered were not. I expected to feel disappointed if I didn't find out certain things. Instead, I felt a sense of peace, and realized that I already knew the answers, really, and I didn't need to be told.

This book will undoubtedly become a movie that I will not see. There may be a temptation to write a sequel, as enough is left loose at the end that there is room to move forward. I hope that temptation is resisted, and the readers are left to create their own endings to the stories that remain unfinished.

Next up: The Story of my Life, by Jay McInerney.

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