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The Friend

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller
  • Author
    • Sigrid Nunez
Regular price £9.99
Regular price Sale price £9.99
A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog - now in a stunning new edition as part of Virago's 50th anniversary Five Gold Reads series


'A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs' GRAHAM NORTON


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, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.

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 unravelling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.

'Very, very clever. Mature. Entertaining. Eminently readable and re-readable. Absolutely delightful' IRISH TIMES

'I loved it . . . It's one of my favourite books and it moved me' WHOOPI GOLDBERG

A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 * A Financial Times 2018 Best Book: Critics Pick * A Buzzfeed Best Book of 2018 * A Bustle Best Fiction Book of 2018 * An NPR Best Book of 2018

Celebrating five decades of the feminist publisher, each of the Five Gold Reads represents an iconic moment in Virago's history, from the 1970s to today.

Not available for shipping to the following countries:

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  • Published: Feb 07 2019
  • 196 x 126mm
  • ISBN: 9780349012810
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Press Reviews

  • New York Times Book Review
    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
    Charming ... the comedy here writes itself... The snap of her sentences sometimes puts me in mind of Rachel Cusk
  • New Yorker
    In crystalline prose, Nunez creates an impressively controlled portrait of the 'exhaustion of mourning'
  • Wall Street Journal
    A beautiful book . . . crammed with a world of insight into death, grief, art, and love
  • The Economist
    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 .. peppered with wry observations
  • Marie Claire
    A poignant reflection on loss and companionship
    An elegant and darkly humorous meditation on grief and companionship, it's a great read - whether or not you're obsessed with canines
  • Harper's Magazine
    A sneaky gut punch of a novel . . . a consummate example of the human-animal tale
  • Buzzfeed
    Often as funny as it is thoughtful, The Friend is an elegant meditation on grief, friendship, healing, and the bonds between humans and dogs
  • Sunday Times
    Delicious ... An intensely pleasurable read because it is so accessible, capacious and clever
  • Irish Times
    Very very clever. Mature. Entertaining. Eminently readable and re-readable. In short, absolutely delightful.
  • Financial Times
    A true delight: I genuinely fear I won't read a better novel this year
  • Vanity Fair
    A pitch-perfect novel ... Wry and moving, The Friend is a love story, a mania story and a recovery story
  • Rebecca Wallersteiner

    The Lady
    Astonishingly fresh and tinged with sadness . . . a highly entertaining, uplifting book exploring the magical bond between humans and canines. A must-read for dog-lovers.
  • Whoopi Goldberg, The View
    I loved it . . . It's one of my favourite books and it moved me
  • Graham Norton
    Loved this. A funny, moving examination of love, grief, and the uniqueness of dogs
  • Anne Enright

    The Times
    She has a wry compassion, and an eye for the kind of detail only grown-ups can catch. The books feel lived-in rather than hard-earned, the voice is smart and kind