As an introduction and welcome to readers in Oprah's Book Club, I'd like to offer the following three memories of mine, all connected, in one way or another, to the writing of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.
In my earliest memory—earliest of any
kind—I am kneeling on the couch in the living room of our house in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, looking out the picture window. Our collie, Princess, is perched on the cushion beside me, and together we are watching three women coming up the sidewalk. I can't be much more than 2 years old, and I don't recall our visitors' purpose, but I must have set my hand against Princess as we looked out the window, for I can vividly recall the warmth and reassuring mass of her body and the texture of her fur against my fingertips. I suppose that moment is the beginning of my interest in the canine world, though who can pinpoint such things? Perhaps I was just born with a kind of certainty about dogs and our relationship to them. What I know is this: in my memory of that instant, there is no boundary between us. I am me, yes, and she is her, but we are also somehow the same. We are connected
as we watch the women approach. They are talking and laughing, swaying along in a friendly, triangular formation. Then they are at the door. They are wearing woolen coats: It must have been spring or fall. Fall, I think. It may have been my birthday, because they are carrying something, and there must be some reason this otherwise ordinary afternoon has stayed with me all these years. One of the women reaches out. The doorbell rings.