Monday, April 23, 2018

The friend, by Sigrid Nunez

As Andrew remarked to me when I checked this book out, “Any book with a dog on the cover won’t end well – the dog will die,” and, of course, he does.  And the book will make you cry.  However, it is not just about the dog, but about grief, and literature, and writing, and complicated friendships.  The narrator loses her best friend and literary mentor to suicide.  Their relationship was longer than he had with any of this three wives, and in many ways deeper.  She inherits, from wife number three, the harlequin Great Dane that he had adopted after finding him on the street.  The dog wasn’t young then, and now, at seven, is reaching the usual lifespan of a large breed.  Both the dog, Apollo, and the woman are stunned by grief.  Complicating the situation further, she lives in a rent-controlled Manhattan apartment that doesn’t allow even small dogs.  A book for which the term “elegiac” was invented.  212 pp.

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