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The Friend: A Novel by Sigrid Nunez
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The Friend: A Novel (original 2018; edition 2019)

by Sigrid Nunez (Author)

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7586321,351 (3.76)68
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.… (more)
Member:Dianecooker
Title:The Friend: A Novel
Authors:Sigrid Nunez (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Literary fiction

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The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (2018)

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English (59)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
A delicate 4 stars. I don't think I'm a full-fledged Nunez convert (although to be one is rather en vogue at present), but this is certainly an insightful, fine, intelligent short novel. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
The title is a double entendre -- is "the friend" the longtime close acquaintance of the narrator, or is it that acquaintance's great dane, who is left behind after the man's death and given over to the narrator. Though the narrator is hesitant to take up the task of dog ownership, she quickly falls in love with the aging beast.

The book is perhaps less a novel than it is a journal-cum-essay. About a third of the book consists of relevant quotes and anecdotes from other authors. "The Friend" is the closest that most of us will ever get to having a drink with a learned sage who has spent much of her life absorbing the wisdom of the written word. There is perhaps more wisdom in these 212 pages than in any other book I've read in the past ten years. I long for such depth of conversation with another human in the real world.

Though "The Friend" is an act of mourning for a lost friend (and the eventual loss of another), it is also quite funny. As the narrator quips, "it's because a person has a sense of humor that we feel we can trust them."

Now that I have finished reading this book, I can't help but feel that I have entered into a state of mourning myself. ( )
  Travis_H | Oct 4, 2020 |
Beautiful in so many ways. I transferred more quotes to my notebook than from any other I have read, recently. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
A small book that is part reminiscence, part tribute, part meditation. The narrator thinks about her friend, who recently died, and muses over what he believed, what they had discussed. She moves from memory to other thoughts, almost a stream-of-consciousness thinking.

The real world enters in the shape of a dog that the friend had left behind. At first resistant, the woman eventually takes the dog in and finds her world changed. There are moments in their relationship and in her thoughts about it that are worth the price of the book. At times I felt this was more memoir than fiction. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This is genius. Also something that will appeal to a certain kind of reader and be meh for others. I don't always like this kind of plotless, cerebral, meandering novel, but this one REALLY works for me. ( )
  KimMeyer | Sep 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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You have to realize that you cannot hope to console yourself for your grief by writing.
Natalia Ginzburg, “My Vocation”

You will see a large chest, standing in the middle of the floor, and upon it a dog seated, with a pair of eyes as large as teacups. But you need not be at all afraid of him.
Hans Christian Andersen, “The Tinderbox”

The question any novel is really trying to answer is, Is life worth living?
Nicholson Baker, “The Art of Fiction No. 212,” The Paris Review
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During the 1980s, in California, a large number of Cambodian women went to their doctors with the same complaint: they could not see.
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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.

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