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The Friend (2018)

por Sigrid Nunez

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,3258814,087 (3.79)103
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.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porEmilyRLord, Black.Opium, combito, Wesowitt, Readabookstl, biblioteca privada, mauraloser, kitcaswe, mkhbooks, GDBrown
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Inglês (83)  Alemão (2)  Holandês (1)  Italiano (1)  Todas as línguas (87)
Mostrando 1-5 de 87 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
3.5 stars. Well written and narrated. I loved the parts about the dog as well as her relationship with its previous owner. I felt that sometimes the book went on a tangent about writing and/or authors and I don’t connect to this as well. ( )
  slittleson | Feb 2, 2024 |
Expected a book about a dog and got a book about suicide, grief and unrequited love. I’m not sure how I feel about that!

I’m not really a dog person but here....I really wanted to know more about the dog and less about the pretty unlikeable dead guy.

Got this one from a book subscription box. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
"The Friend" is a very good novel. Let me rephrase that. "The Friend is a good novel despite the fact that its main character is an academic who liberally quotes major twentieth-century writers and thinkers. But even if you're sort of reader who recoils when they read about yet another main character who teaches at some MFA program at some Midwestern university, thereby proving that the oft-repeated dictum that you should write what you know is demonstrably wrong, you should give this one a chance. Even if you don't like dogs -- and trust me, I don't -- you should give give it a try.

The friend that is referred to in the title is both the central protagonist's former mentor, recently found dead by his own hand,, and man's best friend, in this case a Great Dane who, though he doesn't yet suffer the indignities of age, is rapidly getting on in (dog) years. There are other deaths here, too. The dog in question cannot process the death of its owner, while the main character, a teacher of creative writing at the university level, worries about the death of literature. I feel fairly confident that the awful and hilarious stories she tells about her newest students -- all of whom are digital natives who can barely remember a world without smartphones and barely seem to know what literature is even for -- are true.

We don't always expect to lose our friends in middle age: it's clear that our narrator did not, and neither, for that matter, did the Great Dane: it waited faithfully by the door for its departed master until his widow could take no more. If deaths that are chosen are especially heartbreaking, an enormous dog that she must take care of but whose presence she cannot fully explain in her life proves a remarkably apt metaphor for the enormous, irrational shock that a death like this can deliver. At the same time, the dog also represents a strange persistence here: we witness the Great Dane's dogged (oh, ha) insistence on surviving despite the genetically-determined odds, its vet's cold-eyed yet somehow comforting realism, and the very real and slightly ridiculous physicality of a canine that's bigger and heavier than many human beings. In another sort of book, the narrator might have been left with an elephant or giraffe that she didn't know how to care for.

Grief and grieving seem to be hot topics these days, and perhaps in the wake of a pandemic that killed more than a million Americans, that's hardly a surprise. But our narrator's delicate yet steadily improving attempts to adjust and appreciate her new roommate -- or life partner? -- also serve as a splendid metaphor for the slow, unwilling adjustments we are forced to make to death and finality, even though our narrator knows that her relationship with the "Dogge" will necessarily be a short one. Her introduction of Wittgenstein's definition of love "two solitudes that protect and border and greet each other" and the dog's genuinely affecting death scene -- which reminded me of nothing so much as the elegant, melancholy, beachy setting of "To the Lighthouse" -- suggests that the author knows how to borrow from the greats without seeming at all pretentious. This one's a worthy recipient of whatever prizes it might have been awarded. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Jan 24, 2024 |
A delicate 4 stars. I don't think I'm a full-fledged Nunez convert (although to be one is rather en vogue at present), but this is certainly an insightful, fine, intelligent short novel. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 24, 2023 |
Sly, wry, tender, brilliant, elegant and elegiac. Funny, too. What else is there? I fell in love with this writer. Cannot wait to read more of you, Sigrid. Thank you.
  richardofapplecross | Jul 25, 2023 |
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You have to realize that you cannot hope to console yourself for your grief by writing.
Natalia Ginzburg, “My Vocation”

You will see a large chest, standing in the middle of the floor, and upon it a dog seated, with a pair of eyes as large as teacups. But you need not be at all afraid of him.
Hans Christian Andersen, “The Tinderbox”

The question any novel is really trying to answer is, Is life worth living?
Nicholson Baker, “The Art of Fiction No. 212,” The Paris Review
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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.

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