The Friend (Nunez) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
[D]ry, allusive and charming.… This novel's tone in general …is mournful and resonant. It sheds rosin, like the bow of a cello.… The Friend is thick with quotations and anecdotes from the lives and work of many writers, in a way that can recall the bird's-nest-made-of-citations novels of David Markson. Nunez deals these out deftly; they do not jam her flow. The snap of her sentences sometimes put me in mind of Rachel Cusk.
Dwight Garner - New York Times


The contemplation of writing and the loss of integrity in our literary life form the heart of the novel.… Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts—the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence. She addresses important ideas unpretentiously and offers wisdom for any aspiring writer who, as the narrator fears, may never know this dear, intelligent friend—or this world that is dying. But is it dying? Perhaps. But with The Friend, Nunez provides evidence that, for now, it survives.
New York Times Book Review


With enormous heart and eloquence, Nunez explores cerebral responses to loss.… The Friend exposes an extraordinary reserve of strength waiting to be found in storytelling and unexpected companionship.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune


The book is an intimate, beautiful thing, deceptively slight at around 200 pages, but humming with insight… [an] artfully discursive meditation on friendship, love, death, solitude, canine companionship and the life of an aging writer in New York. Far from being heavy going, this novel, written as a letter to the late friend, is peppered with wry observations, particularly those of a writer stuck teaching undergraduates.
Economist (UK)


A penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory, what it means to be a writer today, and various forms of love and friendship... Nunez has a wry, withering wit.
NPR


In this slim but pitch-perfect novel, a writer loses her best friend and mentor suddenly without explanation…Wry and moving, The Friend is a love story, a mania story, and a recovery story.
Vanity Fair


A poignant reflection on loss and companionship.
Marie Claire


[A] sneaky gut punch of a novel …a consummate example of the human-animal tale.… The Friend’s tone is dry, clear, direct—which is the surest way to carry off this sort of close-up study of anguish and attachment.
Harper's


A wry riff on Rilke’s idea of love as two solitudes that "protect and border and greet each other."
Vogue

Often as funny as it is thoughtful, The Friend is an elegant meditation on grief, friendship, healing, and the bonds between humans and dogs.
Buzzfeed


[O]ver the course of the rest of the novel, her love for Apollo both consumes and heals [the narrator]. This elegant novel explores both rich memories and … the way … the past is often more vibrant than the present.
Publishers Weekly


This is very much a writer's novel[,] … a slow, poignant meditation on grief, rife with pithy literary myths and quotations. Verdict: Literature nerds, creative writing students, and dog lovers will find this work delightful. —Kate Gray, Boston P.L., MA
Library Journal


Nunez offers an often-hilarious, always-penetrating look at writing, grief, and the companionship of dogs.
Booklist


(Starred review.) Quietly brilliant and darkly funny, Nunez's latest novel finds her on familiar turf with an aggressively unsentimental interrogation of grief, writing, and the human-canine bond.… It is a lonely novel: rigorous and stark, so elegant.
Kirkus Reviews

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