The Friend

The Friend

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2018.
ISBN: 9780735219441
Branch Call Number: FIC NUNE
Characteristics: 212 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

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Sep 18, 2020

For the most part I hung on to the final chapter of the book but it was a struggle as the story seemed to falter the farther I got into it. The characters and writing style left me with an empty and hollow feeling. If I was actually going through a period of grief myself this wouldn't be a book that I would turn to or recommend to anyone else in that situation.

Sep 18, 2020

Absolutely marvelous book! Incredibly honest and heartfelt. Honest, sublime, beautiful, sad. Sigrid Nunez wrote a masterpiece.

Sep 03, 2020

Woman becomes owner of her friend's dog

Aug 10, 2020

I love this story. I was transported.

Jul 03, 2020

Mar 17, 2020

Bought this for the upstairs neighbor a retiree who lives alone. But after screening the short novel, decided against it.

Mar 04, 2020

This is only a small book, and it feels as if you are reading a memoir or a diary, rather than a novel. It is addressed to an unnamed, dead friend in the second person "you" throughout, and it is a series of short paragraphs, separated by time and asterisks. The unnamed narrator is a female writer, teaching creative writing at a university as many writers tend to do. Her friend, to whom the book is addressed, was her mentor, a fellow teacher and also a writer and he had committed suicide....

It's only a short book, and it quivers with emotion, making it an uncomfortable and yet compelling read. I finished it wondering "what on earth WAS that book?"

For my longer review, please visit:

Jan 28, 2020

I was surprised by the number of quotes from other authors that was in the book. After a while it appeared to be to be a book of essays regarding dogs, friendship, and suicide. The essays were linked together by a theme of the repercussions of a friends suicide. OK, just not great.

Jan 23, 2020

Obviously I am more of a cat person, but I get my dog fixes by sitting for friends' pets. This unique book is a study of grief. Although the "mourned" individual is perhaps not the nicest person or the most worthy of profound sorrow, try telling this to a great dane. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 13, 2020

This is a beautifully written book that intelligently and insightfully explores themes of attachment, loss, grief and the animal-human bond. It is also a reflection on writers and writing and, at the same time, touches on issues of sexual power and predation. Liberally peppered with quotes from famous writers and philosophers this book offered plenty of food for thought.

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