I wasn't entirely pleased with the ending of this book. I don't mind so much that Edgar dies, or that the dogs run away, or whatever else. What REALLY really bothered me was that Glen went totally against character while holding Trudy down. Glen may have been panicked but it makes no sense he would have held her down. This was a cheap cop-out to keep Trudy down so Edgar and Claude could both die and the dogs could run away.
I know this sounds crazy, but it's as if the author couldn't fathom that the only woman character (aside from the "witch" Ida Paine) could possibly be the ultimate hero. Glen was a passive, ultimately gentle man. He knew both Claude and Edgar were in that barn, and he did not want to kill them. I think the author put in this preposterous twist out of laziness.
On the Oprah boards (which I found horribly frustrating), the people all thought the dogs were going to Henry's... Like he'd take over breeding? I think that's silly too. Though possible of course. Essay leads them the way Edgar lead them. Edgar did not lead them to Henry's, Henry's was an accident. Edgar was going into nature, to disappear.
My evidence for this is that they say teh dogs are "going back"... They're headed back the way they came, to nature. And this reflects the letter between the two dog breeding guys generations ago. The "new dog"... The fact that dogs can't be made better for people, that people need to be made better for dogs. Dogs are just dogs.
Also, Essay wouldn't go back to Henry's because she'd always wanted to be in the wild. She came back from her last day of exploration with Edgar in the woods with blood on her muzzle. She was ready to be a true Canine.
I wish the ending could have been that Trudy was released by a compassionate Glen, who was compassionate in his nature, she ran in and Claude was gone, she pulls out Edgar. Whether E dies or lives, I'm not sure. I do think the dogs should have run and been wild, led by Essay. But perhaps Opal could have stayed with Trudy or Edgar or both.
It's man vs nature and nature always has to win. That was achieved here, but there was so much preposterousness to the way it happened that it bugged me. However we should have known it would happen as Ida did warn him not to go back. He knew it, and he chose to go back, he knew he could die. And maybe his life was always supposed to be right next to Almondine. She was born just before him, she had to die just before him.
But the other thing that bugged me was that by following Gar's advice, Edgar was killed. This makes no sense. No sense at all. Gar showed him how to open the hatch to let the smoke out (which helped kill Claude, that makes sense) but why would a message from the benevolent father kill the prodigal son????
I want to address your questions, they're great ones, but I had to get that out about the ending!!! I've had no one to talk to about it, and the Oprah boards about it just don't seem like they'd be able to understand what I"m saying to challenge or agree (maybe I'm wrong!)
thanks for reading all that!