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Sigrid Nunez

Teoksen The Friend tekijä

12+ teosta 3,548 jäsentä 210 arvostelua 5 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: Nunez, Sigrid

Image credit: Sigrid Nunez gives a presentation in the Fiction Stage at the National Book Festival, August 31, 2019. Photo by Ralph Small/Library of Congress. By Library of Congress Life - 20190831RS0155.jpg, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82899232

Tekijän teokset

The Friend (2018) 1,397 kappaletta, 92 arvostelua
The Last of Her Kind (2005) 511 kappaletta, 25 arvostelua
What Are You Going Through (2020) 440 kappaletta, 19 arvostelua
Salvation City (2010) 276 kappaletta, 37 arvostelua
A Feather on the Breath of God (1995) 252 kappaletta, 8 arvostelua
The Vulnerables (2023) 211 kappaletta, 9 arvostelua
Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag (2011) 168 kappaletta, 9 arvostelua
Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury (1998) 143 kappaletta, 6 arvostelua
For Rouenna (2001) 91 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua
Naked Sleeper (1996) 57 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
The Poor Girl 1 kappale
Os vulneráveis 1 kappale

Associated Works

The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Avustaja — 631 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
The Mrs Dalloway Reader (2003) — Avustaja — 430 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua
McSweeney's Issue 22: Three Books Held Within By Magnets (2007) — Avustaja — 338 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua
xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (2013) — Avustaja — 279 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua
The Best American Short Stories 2019 (2019) — Avustaja — 187 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (1993) — Avustaja — 159 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
Growing up Asian American: An Anthology (1993) — Avustaja — 102 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure, and Discovery on the Road (2013) — Avustaja — 101 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives (2009) — Avustaja — 67 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
2011 Pushcart Prize XXXV: Best of the Small Presses (2010) — Avustaja — 39 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




'The Friend' was a remarkable listening experience. It's an intimate six-hour long monologue, spoken to a dead friend. That probably sounds a little dull, perhaps even a bit of chore to listen to but that wasn't my experience at all. To me it felt like one of those rare occaisions when you meet someone new and fascinating so you spend the whole day and long into the night listening to them talk, building a picture of them. lost in who they are becoming in your mind.

'The Friend' is such a wonderful, effortless flow of remembrance and reflection that, at first, it hardly felt like grief, except that it was being spoken into a void, a presence lost and now, at best, imagined. I loved the narrator's taken-for-granted erudition, her seamlessly integrated wit, and her self-awareness which refused to let self-deception hold sway but insisted on trying to say only what was true.

The premise of the story seems simple enough. A man dies and bequeaths his harlequin great dane not to his wife but to the narrator, a woman he has known for far longer than his (third) wife. A woman he knows to be a cat person. A woman he knows is not allowed to have a dog in her Manhattan apartment. A woman he knows loves him enough to take the dog anyway. The bequest transforms the woman's life both by changing her here-and-now experience and by causing her to re-examine the truths embedded in her long-term relationship with the dead man.

In other hands, this could be the set-up for a Hallmark movie about a life redeemed by the love of a large dog. In Sigrid Nunez's hands, it becomes an excavation of a life, of choices made and lived with, of people living complex, sometimes over-examined lives, of the effects of time and age on passion and friendship and on how our identity is shaped by our memory of the past and our expectations of the future.

I was immersed in the story mostly because it didn't feel like a story. This wasn't a linear narrative designed to lead the reader to a climax through a three-act plot. This was about being in the narrator's head as she worked out what the man's death meant to her. In the process, I learned as much, maybe more, about her than about him. I learned how she came to be who she is and how she sees herself. She is an academic, prone to analysis and used to using literary references to frame her understanding of situations. She has a dry wit that often keeps her at a distance from others. She is mired so deeply in grief that it taints every thought and every memory. She can't forgive the dead man for being dead. She can't imagine the path of her life, free from the gravitational pull of his personality.

Sigrid Nunez's prose is wonderful. Not a word is wasted. Phrases that at first seem casual become charge with meaning as they are repeated or their context is revealed. I've already re-listened to the start of the book and I can see that the experience of the text, when you already know what the narrator knows, is different: richer, deeper but the truth of the narrative remains the same.

There was one section of the story that didn't work for me. It was an extended discussion between the narrator and the dead man about literature an publishing, about cultural appropriation and self-censorship and so on. It was a good discussion but I found it jarring. It took me out of the flow. It also seemed like lecture notes reconfigured into dialogue. Fortunately, it was a short section.

I haven't mentioned the dog. He is, of course, adorable. If you've lived with a dog as a family member you'll recognise the emerging relationship and the emotional attachment.

At the end of the book, I found myself thinking about the title. It has the same complex simplicity as the story. It's up to the reader to work out who the friend is and what being a friend means.

I recommend listening to the audiobook version of 'The Friend'. Hilary Huber's narration perfectly captures the tone of the monologue. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
MikeFinnFiction | 91 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 10, 2024 |
DNF @50%
Stream of consciousness about a dirty old man, writing books & inappropriate relationships with dogs. Wasn’t for me.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
spiritedstardust | 91 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 1, 2024 |
“The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, "What are you going through?”

― Simone Weil

The first half of the book deals mostly with the narrator's attendance at a lecture on the inevitable end of the world and then an amalgam of anecdotes as she meets people who tell her of their suffering. This section moved slowly. The latter half of the book is her attendance on a friend with terminal cancer who is intent on euthanasia and I responded more to this section, in fact laughed out loud at some of its incongruities like the flood, or:
"Flaubert: To think is to suffer.
Aristotle: To perceive is to suffer.
Hitchcock: Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.
Sylvester the Cat: Sufferin' succotash."
The philosophical topics are meaty and many on the decimation of earth, illness, death, friendship and animals' role in our lives. Some consider it a companion piece to [b:The Friend|40164365|The Friend|Sigrid Nunez|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1544364669l/40164365._SY75_.jpg|56847766] as it deals with similar topics of friendship and death.
There's not much plot nor even characterization, but I enjoyed the literary references, the quotidian activities caring for each other, the author's telling how to sit with a terminal friend as the earth too is dying.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
featherbooks | 18 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 7, 2024 |
My kind of book, Nunez writes fondly of dogs, more critically of writing and writers (Rilke, Kundera, etc.), but mainly about grief. Told in the first person by a writing teacher after the death of a colleague and friend, it is poignant, absorbing and smart. She ends up with aged 185-pound Great Dane in her tiny, “no-dogs-allowed" rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan where she's lived for decades. She is unable to write. She is barely able to teach and she keeps getting threatening notices from the apartment management about the canine occupant who she grows to love. A book to savor and ponder on death, on faith, on animals and on love.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
featherbooks | 91 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 7, 2024 |



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