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Update Bumping my rating down to 2 stars TheI think about it theI don t think the author s intentions were executed well This book was a miss for me, but I ve decided not to rate this 2 stars since I think that s just a matter of my personal preference rather than the objective quality of the book It s less of a story anda string of musings about literature, life, and death, and how interconnected they can be The book aims to be thought provoking but I did not feel moved or attached to the writing, despite my adoration for dogs and penchant for overthinking I think the book has a very niche audience that just isn t for me. Update This made the 2018 National Book Awards Longlist for Fiction good choice This was an awesome doggie good Audiobook Read byHillary HuberIt s dry it s sly, it s never dull It s also quite beautiful and touching It s about a friend, a man, a suicide, a dog, Apollo and 3 wives.It takes place in New York with writers and writing seminars.There s no escaping sadness loss grief and death , but if you love dogs and literature with great dialoguerecognize a fabulous voice narrator when you hear one this is a wonderful choice.Slip this book in between a tragic WWII book or a Political American non fiction frightening book Love the uniqueness this book is DOWNLOAD ⚆ The Friend ♌ A Moving Story Of Love, Friendship, Grief, Healing, And The Magical Bond Between A Woman And Her DogWhen 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 BuildingWhile 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 ThemElegiac And Searching, The Friend Is Both A Meditation On Loss And A Celebration Of Human Canine Devotion I loved the Great Dane, Apollo, but unfortunately couldn t get into the book other than the sections that talked about Apollo. 3.5 Loss and loneliness are the main themes explored in this novel about friendship and the life of writing When a woman loses her best friend and mentor to suicide she tries to understand his actions, deal with the loss of this person, and takes on the responsibility of caring for his aged, Great Dane, named Apollo Apollo is grieving the loss of his former friend and master, and so together they travel a new road.The writing is elegant, spare, recalling literary entities who were also focused on their pets, finding in them many timeshumanity in them than in their regular relationships The writing is non linear, free flowing thoughts, wandering from their past relationship, to the literary endeavors undertaken by them both, and on to other subjects Intropsective and melancholy, thoughts turn and twist, the way memories do, and always in the background the ties people have found and loved in their animals Trivia and insights into animals, their empathy, their understanding, keen sense of smell, the bond forged between them and their human counterparts A shorter novel, but I found it fascinating, the way it is pulled together worked for this exceptionally well We could travel with this young woman as she attempts to come to terms with something unexpected and devastating in her own life The words, sentences, nothing wasted, we are n her mind, her free flowing thoughts Her own relationship with the Great Dane and what it comes to mean This will probably be a book that won t appeal to all, but it did appeal to me I sometimes sink into these unconventional types of fiction,just float along with the words, and ponder what I m reading.ARC from Edelweiss. 4.5 StarsThe dead dwell in the conditional, tense of the unreal But there is also the extraordinary sense that you have become omniscient, that nothing we do or think or feel can be kept from you The extraordinary sense that you are reading these words, that you know what they ll say even before I write them Loss, loneliness, the writing life, friendship, grieving, memories, love in all its various forms, between people, and with our pets in this story, with a dog But not just any dog, a larger than life sized dog, a harlequin Great Dane named Apollo, who is mourning the loss of his human, a man, a writer, who has taken his own life These are some of the themes examined in this thought provoking novelIf reading really does increase empathy, as we are constantly being told that it does, it appears that writing takes some awayApollo comes to live with our narrator, a friend of the deceased at the request of his widow, his third wife He s much too much for her to handle in her spacious place, and she s not interested in trying to make it work Apollo was his dog, and she has no interest in keeping him It s clear from the start that Apollo is mourning the loss of the man, but quietly accepts the transfer to this strange new woman, despite her building having a no dogs allowed policy This is not a plot driven book, it weaves through thoughts, the past, her frustration with her students grasp of the English language and simple sentence construction, her growing fondness for this new being sharing her life, and missing the easy friendship with her former friend, Apollo s former master The writing is lovely in its sparseness, adding a graceful simplicity to this story that readslike a memoir that wanders hither and yon, always returning to the tie that binds her to Apollo In the beginning of their days together, she keeps Apolloout of a sense of obligation to her friend, something to bond them now that he s gone As time passes, her focus changes, and she becomes almost single mindedly devoted to Apollo, who has now become her dog in every sense, they have bonded The grief is still there, it is one of the things they share, but in sharing that grief a bond has nevertheless been formedThey don t commit suicide They don t weep But they can and do fall to pieces They can and do have their hearts broken They can and do lose their mindsClever and darkly amusing, this flits from topic to topic, never staying with one too long A tribute to life and all that includes, all of the ugly, dark and painful sides of life, balanced by the loveliness of life, and the love we share through our words, spoken or written Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book My review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, also can be found on my blog.A meditation on writing, grief, and friendship, The Friend follows an unnamed woman as she comes to terms with an old friend s suicide and struggles to take care of the dog he has left behind The novel is narrated from the woman s perspective, and each of its twelve chapters consists of a series of fragments addressing a wide array of subjects The flimsy plot in fact feels merely like a jumping off point for philosophical contemplation the narrator discusses at length the ethics of animal ownership, sexual harassment, friendships between men and women, divorce, literary composition, pedagogy, and suicide A pair of twists in the final two chapters adds a dash of drama to the story, but the appeal of the novel lies elsewhere Nunez s prose is terse and fast moving, and her frequent references to the work of other writers makes her book read as a collage of perspectives While I value the author s project and admire her style, I often felt The Friend to be old fashioned in thought and disjointed in form. THE FRIEND by Sigrid Nunez is quite simply one of the best personal narrative novels I ve come across concerning dogs and writing In the same vein as MY DOG TULIP, Nunez alternates philosophizing between her literary musings and the unexpected care she must bestow upon a massive great dane As a dog lover, I am a sucker for any good dog book, but Nunez s focus not only on the physical complications of a huge dog in tiny spaces, but also upon the heavy philosophical questions that arise for many writers and their pooches is second to none At different times, the subjects of love and loss take the forefront, bouncing back and forth between the death of a close friend and the dog the protagonist takes in after the tragedy Both hilarious and heartwarming, while also deeply contemplative and empathic, THE FRIEND is an uncanny exploration of grief and loss while never losing its focus on the power dogs have for humans Writers often have some type of non human companion that helps not only with their craft, but their mental state, and this novel perfectly captures that balance these animals can be an incredible burden at times, but a life without them just seems impossible The level of empathy a dog bestows upon its owner is paramount, and Nunez showcases the psychological gauntlet these animals put us through and how the rewards always outweigh all other considerations A brisk read, filled with heart, humor, and darkness, THE FRIEND was one of the most delightful reading experiences I ve had in some time So much so, in fact, that I look forward to being able to read the book a second time in no time at all. despite my joy over twinkle lights and tiny notebooks etc, i was apprehensive when i got this book in my quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit let s just say this isn t a good time of year for me to be reading books about suicide OR books where beloved animals might die but this isn t a tearjerker by any means for a book about grief, it s almost entirely cerebral, and most of the emotional responses to death are centered in the behavior of the dog whose master has just died.it s somewhere in between a letter and a novel, without being shaped like either a series of loosely connected, stream of consciousness musings written in second person, where the you is not the reader, but the narrator s recently deceased longtime friend and mentor, whose unexpected suicide left behind a widow, two ex wives, a career s worth of students and readers, the narrator herself, and a 180 pound great dane named apollo apollo isor less foisted upon the narrator by wife three, despite her enviably rent stabilized manhattan apartment s no dogs policy, and they build a companionship upon their shared loss the narrator is also a writing teacher, and this book feels like a writing assignment write a book about the grieving process without being emotionally manipulative, without any named human characters, without a traditional plot or narrative structure also, name drop, quote, and reference at least fifty writers per chapter the result is unusual grief manifesting in a clinical, detached way, frequently as physical symptoms of emotional distress but ironically, it s this self consciously strict refusal to commit to or indulge any emotional response on paper that makes the pain stand out that muchthe control and the effort that control must require a lot of the novel is about writing in general and about writing as therapy it s a recurring theme in a book in which recurrence itself is a theme there s alwaysthan one thing going on in any given passage, something harkening back to, or presaging, another passage it s all very intricate while giving the illusion it s unconcerned with structure a sample page A friend of mine who is working on a memoir says, I hate the idea of writing as some kind of catharsis, because it seems like that can t possibly produce a good book.You cannot hope to console yourself for your grief by writing, warns Natalia Ginzburg.Turn then to Isak Denisen, who believed that you could make any sorrow bearable by putting it into a story or telling a story about it I suppose that I did for myself what psychoanalysts do for their patients I expressed some very long felt and deeply felt emotion And in expressing it I explained it and then laid it to rest. Woolf is talking about writing about her mother, thoughts of whom had obsessed her between the ages of thirteen her age when her mother died and forty four, when, in a great, apparently involuntary rush, she wrote To the Lighthouse After which the obsession ceased I no longer hear her voice I do not see her.Q Does the effectiveness of catharsis depend on the quality of the writing And if a person finds catharsis by writing a book, does it matter whether or not the book is any good My friend is also writing about her mother.Writers love quoting Milosz When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.After I put my mother in a novel she never forgave me.Rather than, say, Toni Morrison, who called basing a character on a real person an infringement of copyright A person owns his life, she says It s not for another to use it for fiction.there are some absolutely gorgeous moments in this book some excellent lines and inspired observations and unexpected connections, but that s what it left me with i felt like i had experienced several small lovely moments without having read something complete i m not able to articulate it with any precision right now, but it s something like this book pleased me on an analytic level without allowing me anyimmersive pleasure but that it also it kind of felt like when i used to have seizures there d be a sensation of time passing punctuated by flashes of clarity but no sense or understanding of the event as a whole TLDR i liked it, but i didn t love it.although look how cute it is under the hood REVIEW TO COME my new quarterly literary fiction box from pagehabit has arrived oh, man i have a LOT of catching up to do but what fun it will be to do so come to my blog Sigrid Nunez s The Friend sometimes reads like a memoir, sometimes like a letter to a friend and sometimes, in an attempt to make sense of both her friend s death and the dog who has come to stand in for him, a philosophical inquiry I loved it Nunez is smart, funny and thought provoking as she explores life, death, writing and relationships I know this book is not for everyone The fact that writing and the writing life is such a strong focus will appeal to some and turn others off Perhaps as a consequence, it doesn t really have a strong plot unless you count whether the unnamed narrator will find a way to keep her friend s dog , but, in my opinion, that s not really the point Nunez does so much in these pages that keeps me wanting to keep reading This was my first time reading Sigrid Nunez, but it won t be the last time I will look for another of Nunez s Since Sigrid Nunez s visit to Wyoming, her latest novel, The Friend, won the National Book of the Year Award Congratulations, Sigrid