Recently THE FRIEND by Sigrid Nunez won the National Book Award. I decided to take a close look at this book with a Great Dane on the cover. I’m a sucker for books with animals. I ended up reading the entire book in a little over one day. Very readable for a big award winner.
What is this book about? It’s about much more than a dog. But the big dog is a good part of the story. The protagonist is a woman who lives in a tiny apartment in NYC. Her friend has recently committed suicide and she has inherited his beloved great dane Apollo. What’s a woman to do? How on earth can a dog of this size survive in such a cramped area? And this pet is grieving for his master. So is this woman who has lost her best friend.
THE FRIEND is humorous, witty, and so well written that it won the National Book Award as I mentioned earlier. That’s a huge feat for such a small book. I was tugged into the novel because of the relationship between the dog and the woman. But I stayed with the story because of the quality of the writing and the references to writers. And, of course, I had to know what would become of the dog. You see, dogs were prohibited in this apartment building and this dog certainly could not be hidden.
This is a poignant story about grief. I am convinced that animals certainly do grieve. And this book just cements my belief. This novel is being read in book clubs. And discussed. Rightly so.
I borrowed my copy of THE FRIEND from the library. I look forward to reading other books by Sigrid Nunez. I hear all her books have animals in them. I love that!