- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Virago (7 February 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349012814
- ISBN-13: 978-0349012810
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,40,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Friend: Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction Paperback – Import, 7 Feb 2019
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The contemplation of writing and the loss of integrity in our literary life form the heart of the novel . . . Nunez's prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts - the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence. She addresses important ideas unpretentiously and offers wisdom for any aspiring writer who, as the narrator fears, may never know this dear, intelligent friend - or this world that is dying. But is it dying? Perhaps. But with The Friend, Nunez provides evidence that, for now, it survives
Charming . . . the comedy here writes itself . . . the novel's tone in general, however, is mournful and resonant . . . The snap of her sentences sometimes puts me in mind of Rachel Cusk
In crystalline prose, Nunez creates an impressively controlled portrait of the 'exhaustion of mourning'
A beautiful book . . . crammed with a world of insight into death, grief, art, and love
The book is an intimate, beautiful thing, deceptively slight at around 200 pages, but humming with insight . . . [an] artfully discursive meditation on friendship, love, death, solitude, canine companionship and the life of an aging writer in New York. Far from being heavy going, this novel, written as a letter to the late friend, is peppered with wry observations, particularly those of a writer stuck teaching undergraduates
A poignant reflection on loss and companionship
[A] sneaky gut punch of a novel . . . a consummate example of the human-animal tale . . . The Friend's tone is dry, clear, direct-which is the surest way to carry off this sort of close-up study of anguish and attachment
An elegant and darkly humorous meditation on grief and companionship, it's a great read - whether or not you're obsessed with canines
Often as funny as it is thoughtful, The Friend is an elegant meditation on grief, friendship, healing, and the bonds between humans and dogs
This is an intensely pleasurable read because it is so accessible, capacious and clever
WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD and a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER: a moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
First, the bad. The publishers deserve the firing squad, except since they DID have the good sense to publish the book, they get one star (and the author loses one). This is not a young adult book or one destined to be a best-seller, it's a book for lovers of fiction and the art and craft of writing it. So why, since most of its readers will be individuals wearing glasses, publish it in a font so small and with contrast so weak that some sort of magnification may well prove necessary? They'll have a chance, when preparing the paperback edition, to do better, and I'm writing this solely to encourage them to do that: MAKE IT READABLE.
Second, the good. This is an important book. The author has created something original and, by its end, revelatory of how fiction comes to be - indeed, of what fiction IS. The prose style is dry, never poetic. (It's not 'academic' dry, it's 'journalistic' dry.) The plot is slight, and the digressions are many. But it's not - not ever - dull; there's not a wasted word in it. The pace is slow, but it's too interesting to put down. 3/4 of the way through, the author takes the reader on a detour that I was pretty sure was going to turn out to have been a bad idea. It wasn't; she knew exactly what she was doing. It turns out she's a fisherman (fisherperson?) who has been quietly letting out her nets all along, and when she hauls them in, her catch is bountiful. I'm impressed enough with "The Friend" that I'm changing the syllabus for a seminar I'll teach next fall, replacing a tried and true novel with this one, because it's such fine work. Brava, Signora Nunez!
Five stars for the author - minus one for the publisher. PLEASE do better with the next edition; this is an important book!
There are long passages about writing as an act, as an art, and as a therapy, it’s meaning, it’s burdens and its responsibilities. These became a little tedious to me; I do like a bit of a plot. You won’t find one here.
The relationship with the dog is what I liked best. It is a poignant one. The dog is old and failing. Between the suicide and the old dog, there is much meditation on death and loss. I found the book quite sad but then, I am a terrific sucker for a dog.
I'm ashamed to admit that I'd never even heard of Nunez before I read *The Friend*. I caught an interview with her on NPR around the time the book debuted. She was so smart and charming and eloquent, I thought I'd give the novel a shot. I was very, very pleasantly surprised.
For starters, Nunez is an outstanding writer. Her turns of phrase leave most authors I know in the dust. And yet, she manages to wow the reader without being showy. Her sentences pack a punch, whether or not you majored in English lit.
Also, the third major character is a dog. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for dogs. Nunez captures the personality of her curious new friend perfectly, and their slowly blossoming love story is...well, it's better than most I can name.
This is the first book I've read by Sigrid Nunez, and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.