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The Friend: Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

Sigrid Nunez

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

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.

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

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 traumatised 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 unravelling. 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.

"A beautiful book ... a world of insight into death, grief, art, and love." -Wall Street Journal

"A penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory...Nunez has a wry, withering wit." -NPR

"Dry, allusive and charming...the comedy here writes itself." The New York Times

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Praise for The Friend: Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

  • A poignant reflection on loss and companionship - Marie Claire

  • The Friend is a powerful meditation on writing as well as love and loss. - Extended Review - Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Age

  • The final words are heartbreaking, but somehow fitting for this story of deep friendship, as well as grief, as felt by the canine and human characters. - Good Reading

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Sigrid Nunez

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, and, most recently, The Friend, which won the National Book Award 2018. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Harper's, McSweeney's, Tin House, The Believer and newyorker.com. Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including four Pushcart Prize volumes and four anthologies of Asian-American literature.


Sigrid's honors and awards include a Whiting Writer's Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. The Friend won the 2018 National Book Award. She has taught at Columbia, Princeton, Boston University, and the New School, and has been a visiting writer or writer in residence at Amherst, Smith, Baruch, Vassar, and the University of California, Irvine, among others. In spring, 2019, she will be visiting writer at Syracuse University. Sigrid has also been on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and of several other writers' conferences across the country. She lives in New York City.

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