The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
A Novel

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The Friend sparked a mini-Nunez festival for me, which offered ample evidence that it's no fluke. In fact, this nuanced, exceptionally literary novel about devotion is a natural outgrowth of Sempre Susan, Nunez's blisteringly frank 2011 memoir of Susan Sontag...
-NPR

Synopsis

“Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts—the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence.” –The New York Times Book Review

"A penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory...Nunez has a wry, withering wit." —NPR

"[A] sneaky gut punch of a novel...a consummate example of the human-animal tale." —Harper's Magazine

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.

While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.

Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.
 

About Sigrid Nunez

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Sigrid Nunez is the author of the novels The Last of Her Kind, A Feather on the Breath of God, and For Rouenna, among others. She has been the recipient of several awards, including a Whiting Writers' Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. She lives in New York City.
 
Published February 6, 2018 by Riverhead Books. 223 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Friend
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Oct 01 2017

It is a lonely novel: rigorous and stark, so elegant—so dismissive of conventional notions of plot—it hardly feels like fiction. Breathtaking both in pain and in beauty; a singular book.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Lori Soderlind on Mar 09 2018

“The Friend” could almost carry a trigger warning for writers, teachers and readers, except that Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts — the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence.

Read Full Review of The Friend: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Feb 05 2018

“The Friend” is thick with quotations and anecdotes from the lives and work of many writers, in a way that can recall the bird’s-nest-made-of-citations novels of David Markson. Nunez deals these out deftly; they do not jam her flow.

Read Full Review of The Friend: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jan 23 2018

The Friend sparked a mini-Nunez festival for me, which offered ample evidence that it's no fluke. In fact, this nuanced, exceptionally literary novel about devotion is a natural outgrowth of Sempre Susan, Nunez's blisteringly frank 2011 memoir of Susan Sontag...

Read Full Review of The Friend: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for The Friend
87%

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