Friday, January 02, 2009

Sign Language and Secondary Deaf Character in Oprah's Book Club text, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I've hesitated adding this book to my blog because the story is about main character Edgar who is described as "mute". Folks keep bringing this book to my attention and it is one of Oprah's Book Club reads....

Edgar uses sign language to communicate. Louise Wilkes is a CODA and communicates using the Sign Language that her Deaf parents taught her. This character works with Deaf children and hearing children of Deaf parents. There is another secondary Deaf Character whom Edgar meets when he is four. The character communicates through Sign Language but also speaks. Edgar notes that he sounds funny (p. 49).

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel by David Wroblewski
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Ecco (September 19, 2008)

Book Description
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

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