The writing and composition leave something to be desired but the story draws you in and, whether it's a true story as the book cover claims or fiction it's a facinating read if you're a sucker for stories dealing with animal/human relationships.
Very interesting book, especially considering it's the first book published by this author. The length was daunting but it ended up seeming like several books in one. The first book, while Edgar's father was living was a touching tribute to family relationships along with human/dog relationships. As the book continued it took on a sort of magic realism, with Edgar seeing the ghost of his father, and various hints and foreshadowing events leading up to the climax, some 400 pages later. The third book dealt with Edgar's travels and relationship with Henry, something that seemed to drag on a little too long until finally reaching the fourth book, Edgar's travels home and the ensuing climax. Excellent character building and some beautiful writing. Overall a wonderful, if sometimes disjointed book.
Having read Olive Kitteridge and being amazed I decided to venture into another dark and brooding Elizabeth Strout novel and wasn't disappointed. This is a book of characters. There's the brooding, yearning daughter, the neurotic guilt-ridden mother, the sad, stalward office-mates and the mysterious, romantic yet cruel teacher. Every one bursting with life. Elizabeth Strout writes so beautifully it makes you wish you had a pen or pencil to underline certain passages. You can smell the fedit, yellow river running through town. You struggle with the impossible humid, scorched summer as it builds to a climax of nerves. Each word is the exact word and correctly placed. It's not offensively dramatic but helps to take the reader into a story he or she never knew was possible. No wonder she won the Pulitzer Prize.