Summary and book reviews of The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The Friend

by Sigrid Nunez

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez X
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2018, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2019, 224 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Natalie Vaynberg
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Part One

During the 1980s, in California, a large number of Cambodian women went to their doctors with the same complaint: they could not see. The women were all war refugees. Before fleeing their homeland, they had witnessed the atrocities for which the Khmer Rouge, which had been in power from 1975 to 1979, was well known. Many of the women had been raped or tortured or otherwise brutalized. Most had seen family members murdered in front of them. One woman, who never again saw her husband and three children after soldiers came and took them away, said that she had lost her sight after having cried every day for four years. She was not the only one who appeared to have cried herself blind. Others suffered from blurred or partial vision, their eyes troubled by shadows and pains.

The doctors who examined the women—about a hundred and fifty in all—found that their eyes were normal. Further tests showed that their brains were normal as well. If the women were telling the truth&#...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    National Book Awards
    2018

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Nunez achieves a beautiful feat – she tells a rich and satisfying story through short vignettes, each seemingly about a very small topic. As a whole, they make up an intricate tapestry of a complicated inner life, but break them apart and you have many fully formed narratives, each with a heart of its own. Put down the book after finishing a short, page-long piece and you will have enough to think about for the rest of the day. How many books can say the same?..continued

Full Review (427 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Natalie Vaynberg).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This elegant novel explores both rich memories and day-to-day mundanity, reflecting the way that, especially in grief, the past is often more vibrant than the present.

Library Journal
Literature nerds, creative writing students, and dog lovers will find this work delightful. Recommended for literary fiction collections.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Breathtaking both in pain and in beauty; a singular book.

Author Blurb Cathleen Schine, bestselling author of They May Not Mean To, But They Do
The intensity and elegance of The Friend mean two things - you cannot put it down and you will cry. In a novel about loss and the loneliness of writing and imagination, Sigrid Nunez creates an irresistible tale of love and an unforgettable Great Dane. A beautiful, beautiful book - the most original canine love story since My Dog Tulip.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Origins of Human-Canine Friendship

Sigrid Nunez's The Friend reminds us of the power and beauty of the human-canine friendship. Many of us have witnessed the relationship first-hand – our dogs "listen" to us, they comfort us when we are sad and they are the first to greet us when we come home – but where and when did it originate? How did the gray wolf become "man's best friend"?

Early DomesticationSurprisingly, this is a highly contentious question, still raising hackles and stirring up arguments across the global geneticist community.

For many years, there were two dominant theories on dog domestication – one is passive, wolves simply came around human encampments to feed off of scraps and stayed around, domesticating themselves. The other theory suggests ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Sigrid Nunez

If you liked The Friend, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: His Only Wife
    His Only Wife
    by Peace Adzo Medie
    21-year-old Afi is a talented Ghanaian seamstress eager to study fashion design, but her life is ...
  • Book Jacket: We Have Been Harmonized
    We Have Been Harmonized
    by Kai Strittmatter
    You'd be forgiven if, while reading We Have Been Harmonized, you momentarily mistook it for a ...
  • Book Jacket: Jack
    Jack
    by Marilynne Robinson
    If you are a fan of Marilynne Robinson's Gilead series, you already know who Jack is. Chances are, ...
  • Book Jacket: Migrations
    Migrations
    by Charlotte McConaghy
    Migrations, Australian author Charlotte McConaghy's literary fiction debut, earned a notably high ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Girl is A Body of Water
    by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

    A powerful portrait of a young Ugandan girl and her family.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Find Me
by André Aciman

The author of the worldwide bestseller Call Me by Your Name revisits its complex and beguiling characters.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
by Natasha Trethewey

The moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of tragedy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L N Take I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.