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“The Friend” is a Must-Read

Sigrid Nunez's novel is garnering praise
By Claudia Kawczynska, September 2018, Updated June 2021

It isn’t everyday that a book reviewed by The Bark makes it unto the long list for the National Book Award, but that is just what happened with Sigrid Nunez’s luminous The Friend: A Novel. I knew when I read this book it was more than something special, that it fell into a category all its own, and that it would leave an everlasting impression on me. It certainly didn’t fit snuggly into any “dog” book category, but then again since dogs are so integral to our lives, what they are to us and what we share with them, touches all aspects of who we are, and that is what Nunez so eloquently explores. The title alone opens up the question of who “the friend” was, is he the senior Harlequin Great Dane who her deceased friend and mentor had bequeathed to her, or is that man “the friend”?  Either way, the dog is the vital fulcrum that propels the narrator’s internal discourse and self-explorations, and allowed her to reconcile what was for hers and the dog's mutual sense of loss. I urge you to check out the review and  interview with the author, but also do read this remarkable book that is garnering so much praise. The finalists for the National Book Award will be announced on October, 10. I know what my choice is.

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.