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: FICT NUN
Characteristics: 212 pages ; 21 cm


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Feb 13, 2021

I dont think it read like the description at all. I really wanted to enjoy it, but was underwhelmed.

Jan 29, 2021

This is a book I couldn't put down, once I started reading it. It is a book about a women adopting a dog that her friend who died left her. It is a big dog and it is not allowed in her building. She really bonds with Apollo the dog. On the surface the book is a dog and human type book, but it is so much more. It really deals with issues of depression. What is interesting, is that it deals with whole story of being a writer. It is a profession that has it's ups and downs. A Very Good Read!

Jan 27, 2021

Beautiful book about friendship, love, loss and the nobility of being a pet owner. Just a warning this will hit you in the "feels" at the end.

Nov 11, 2020

Five stars because this is the kind of writing that is so delicious you feel like you’ll gain weight. It’s a grown up adults book, not that there is a lot of sexy stuff but there is a lot of creative structure, untraditional, downright irritating structure to this writing. And I wouldn’t call it a book, or rather I wouldn’t call it a book any more than I’d call a journal or a collection of brilliant notes a book. But I’m not a New York fancy writer person, which is most likely the intended audience as well as rafters inhabited therein (that sounded fancy, but still, nowhere close to the deep thoughts contained in this organized jumble of brilliant insights).

Unfortunately this is similar to What Are You Going Through, and if you like suicide bookends, this is perfect for you. One before, one after. The way I read them, first What and then, later, Friend, creates a perfect meditation on suicide. This book is a collection of brilliant thoughts regarding consequences, grief, and all the after effects of a suicide. And there’s a dog. The dog is the best. The dog is the focus of what remains. The dog is huge, the dog smells and nobody wants him. The dog is the reason to read this book, even if you don’t particularly enjoy dogs. Or even reading about dogs. Or reading about suicide or death or grief. It’s too beautiful to be a normal story. It’s too beautiful.

Hated it towards the end where now you all of a sudden have to figure out what meta fiction means to you. Loved the very end, just like I enjoyed the perfect ending to What. All the words have been written, and you know what happens. You know. You don’t want to think about it, but you get it. Just like real life. But better. Because there is no dog poop the size of a sand castle to have to clean up in real life.

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.

Mar 17, 2020

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

jr3083 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:

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