The Friend

A Novel
Narrated by: Hillary Huber
Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (843 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction

New York Times Best Seller

One 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, memory...Nunez has a wry, withering wit." (NPR)

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

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.

©2017 Sigrid Nunez (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Friend

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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3.97 stars

This year’s National Book Award winner is fiction that reads like memoir. I suspect at least some of this novel is based on the author’s life, though I know nothing about Sigrid Nunez and have no grounds for saying this. The Friend is about love and loss, but more specifically it’s about suicide and writers and dogs. I like this author’s writing style, and I like the narrator of this audiobook. It’s a book of ideas, not a novel in the traditional sense. There’s so many literary prizes these days, and I don’t know the criteria for each. I won’t say The Friend isn’t deserving of The NBA, but I will say I’ve listened to better audiobooks that were released this year. Overall rating: 3.97 stars

8 people found this helpful

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written fir writers?

struggled through half...narration made it more difficult...was expecting story of relationship with woman and pet and sounded like a college literature class

3 people found this helpful

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Dreadful and misleading...

When a book wins a National Book Award, I expect something pretty spectacular. Wow was I disappointed...this author couldn't decide whether she was writing a grief novel, a documentary on writers/writing, or a canine/buddy story. The bits with the dog actually take up only about a third of the book, so if you're hoping for more, look elsewhere. I won't read another of her books.

23 people found this helpful

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Could not stop listening

I loved the narrator. She was candid and insightful. The story is full of her musing on writers and their writing. It's a quick listen -- just a few dog walks and I was done.

13 people found this helpful

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Haunting!

A totally remarkable and beautiful novel. The author's voice is lyrical and poignant. A must read!

13 people found this helpful

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Same old, same old

Two pretty tired tropes in fiction are the protagonist who is a writer and stories about dogs. Unfortunately, this novel has both. And, it’s in first person. And, the writer protagonist is writing about the death of her writer friend. Ugh. The only good news is that the dog doesn’t talk.

2 people found this helpful

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Suitable for beginners

A college freshman or beginning writer might find something new and revelatory in this book's rehash of old ideas about the writing life. Another aging male professor womanizer? Check. The writer's struggles to write? Check. Jealousy and ambition? Check. Nothing new to see, nothing especially wise or fresh in the rendition of these experiences.

Now, about that Great Dane. This would be a better book if there were more about the dog. Danes have a lot of individualism, a lot of personality. They're worth writing about. Needless to say, the dog's grief is more moving than the writer's.

5 people found this helpful

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Superb, Sly, Funny, Sad--what is love?

Especially for writers and literary fiction lovers. Full of a writer's in jokes and a writer's humor. More than that, it’s full of heart and aching and it’s long on love. Did I mention brilliant? Wonderful narrator. Thank you for this great experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Yes, something bad DOES happen—but not to the dog.

For all the glorification and romance of writing and reading literature present in this novel, the Nunez’s choice of ending is surprising, to say the least. To say the most: cheap, cop-out, and a terrible way to cheat readers. This novel (this speaker, more accurately) meditates on grief, loss, love, connection, and, of course, her greatest grievous love of all, fiction—and ends with a sneak gut punch akin to, “And it was all a dream.” Some insights were witty and well-put, but more than half of the novels great ideas were pilfered via literary name dropping.

5 people found this helpful

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Dreadful...

One of the most boring books its ever been my misfortune to listen to. Despite what the summary says, there is actually very little about the dog in here, just a boring diatribe about a past friendship. Also, far too many sexual references - nothing explicit but too many references to ****ing....
Avoid...

21 people found this helpful