I found this novel written like a writer s journal to be very moving It is written in first person and although it has a story line, there is not really much plot A middle aged writer, who now teaches writing loses a writer friend who commits suicide In the past, the friend was also her teacher and briefly her lover After his death, his huge Great Dane is left grieving and alone, a fate shared by the woman, and so she adopts the dog Some of the chapters describe an incident, but others are short broken musings The description of the interaction between the woman and the dog is wonderful, but there is also a great deal of material on thoughts that the friend s death seems to have stirred in the woman If you like dogs and literature, you would probably like this book, but don t expect a lot action.. WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLERONE OF THE VIEW S SUMMER READ 2019 PICKS A beautiful book a world of insight into death, grief, art, and love Wall Street Journal A penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memoryNunez has a wry, withering wit NPR Dry, allusive and charmingthe comedy here writes itself The New York TimesA 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. I loved every page of this book But fair warning The dog part of the novel doesn t really start until around page 80 I didn t mind too much because I was enjoying Nunez s writing immensely still, I was anticipating the dog part of the story sometimes I think one would be better off not reading reviews I thought about the book for days after reading it the narrator stayed with me, she made me think, and I wished I could sit down with her and have a good long talk Preferably with a bottle of wine.This is the first book I ve read by Sigrid Nunez, and I m looking forward to reading of her work. I bought this book because of a review in theNew York Times I was eager to read it and am not sorry I did but, that being said, I was somewhat disappointed The friend of the title may be either the friend of many years who has just committed suicide, or it may be the dog that he left to her The book is written as though it were a letter to this dead friend and at one point she writes that one writes, in part, to grasp and get hold of a problematic subject This would be the death by suicide of her friend But the dog, who she starts out thinking of as purely a burden, becomes a friend, too and I can t quite make out whether that is because he is a sort of contact with the dead man, but it also seems to be in his own right that she grows to love him 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. The books I read usually fall into one of two camps sci fi fantasy or LGBT queer fiction The Friend is about as far from those categories as you can imagine The setting is contemporary, there s no mention of time travel, and two of the three central characters are straight muggles with benefits.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 iswell, it s better than most I can name.