The Friend

Winner of the 2018 National Book Award

When a woman unexpectedly loses a lifelong friend and mentor to suicide, 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 that had been devoted to its suddenly vanished master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on friendship, loss, and bereavement and a celebration of the wonder and healing power of the human-canine bond.

“The intensity and elegance of The Friend mean two things: you cannot put it down and you will cry. In a novel about loss and the loneliness of writing and imagination, Sigrid Nunez creates an irresistible tale of love and an unforgettable Great Dane. A beautiful, beautiful book — the most original canine love story since My Dog Tulip.” — Cathleen Schine, bestselling author of They May Not Mean To, But They Do

A New York Times Bestseller

An Indie National Bestseller

Read a profile of Sigrid in The New York Times

Finalist for the 2019 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize

Longlisted in the category of foreign fiction for the 2019 Prix Femina and the 2019 Prix du Meilleure Livre



A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
A New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2018
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2018
An NPR Best Book of 2018
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018
A Financial Times 2018 Best Book: Critics’ Pick
A Paris Review Staff Favorite Book of 2018



A Top Five Fiction Choice of The Sunday Times (UK)
A Vogue Editors’ Best Book of 2018
A BuzzFeed Best Book of 2018 & December Book Club Pick
A Bustle Best Fiction Book of 2018

A Lit Hub Favorite Book of 2018
The Bark Magazine’s Best Fiction Book of 2018
An Electric Lit Best Book of 2018
A Town and Country Best Book of 2018


About Sigrid

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, and, most recently, The Friend. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, Tin HouseThe Believer, and Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including four Pushcart Prize volumes and four anthologies of Asian American literature. One of her short stories has been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2019. Nunez’s work has been translated into nine languages and is in the process of being translated into fourteen more.

Sigrid Nunez reads from “The Friend” at the 2018 National Book Awards Finalists Reading

Books by Sigrid Nunez