“To read The Friend is to be awash in the sharp particularities of one person’s grief – a faucet of literary references that buoy and drown a writer in equal parts after her close friend’s suicide.”
Featured in NPR’s Best Books of 2018.
“Nunez’s dry, allusive and charming new novel has the makings of a broad comedy. It’s about what happens when a woman who lives in a tiny Manhattan apartment inherits, after the suicide of a former mentor and lover, his harlequin Great Dane.”
Featured in New York Times Critics’ Top Books of 2018.
There are accomplishments where grief bespeaks with poetic prodromes. Nunez begins “The Friend” with an account of how the Cambodian women were during the era of the 1980s: Almost a hundreds of them, who solicited medical treatment for blindness and impaired vision. The women firmly believed that it was none other than their desolation and endless tears shed during the horrendous regime of Khmer Rouge that caused blindness. They were under the presumption that if they cried enough tears, they would become blind, and even if a doctor examines their eyes, he will render them normal.
When her longtime mentor and friend commits suicide, the anonymous narrator of Sigrid Nunez’s latest novel can’t wrap her head around his loss. In her book “The Friend,” the narrator is a writer who outbraves living with an unfinished relationship. Unanticipatedly, she inherits Apollo, her friend’s elderly Great Dane. Her overall process of grieving turns into a personal challenge as well as a professional struggle.
With colossal heart and articulateness, Nunez explores various cerebral responses to loss that has been processed through the writer’s life. She also houses in, the physical obligations felt by those left behind.
Nunez offers no facile solutions. Instead, she offers the consolation that takes form by accepting change. She has beautifully explained the fact that friendship does come in with the possibility of great joy as well as deep sorrow. Surviving suicide drags us into a bailiwick outside words. “The Friend” reflects an extraordinary discretion of strength that’s waiting to be discovered in unexpected companionship and storytelling.