Update: 2 p.m. May 7:

In our second meeting of Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club, we shared a wide range of opinions on Sigrid Nunez’s “The Friend,” a novel about a grieving woman who forms a bond with her late friend’s dog. Read the comments thread below for the whole discussion (scroll to the bottom of the story and click on the bar that says “View Comments”); here are just a few excerpts (lightly edited for typos):

“I was ready to give this book 3 stars on Goodreads. The meta-observational aspect of the writing was similar to what I enjoyed so much in Outline, but seemed a cut below in quality. As the book went on, I thought the narrator was well past where most people would’ve moved on from the grieving. I loved any scene that contained the dog, as the writing would then sparkle.

Then, that last couple of chapters when everything was turned upside down, and my rating went up to 5 stars. I found the twist exhilarating. The writing came alive and wonderful insights into the human condition started coming fast and furious.”  — Luke O. Meer

Maybe the style is meant to reflect the way we process grief. It’s overwhelming one minute and then for awhile you just do what you do until you confront it again.” — user14430655389323

“Nunez was praised for the cool tone of her writing, and not stooping to sentimentality, which is all too easy to do when writing about a death. No one wants to read schmaltz. But to talk of death, a writer needs to address the pain of the victim and of the survivors. Nunez actually did a better job portraying Apollo’s pain than that of the human narrator” — user15095624016552

“It seemed to me to be about loneliness. As a dog owner, there is a gap that can be filled very temporarily by a dog. But the author is grieving the loss of her friend and his dog becomes a fill in for him. It is also about how a loved one’s suicide leaves a scar that is very difficult to erase.” — user15170779425528


“I learned a lot about philosophers (had to look most of them up) and really enjoyed the observations on life and love. I plan to listen to the Audible version too.”— VineMaple

From earlier:

Bookmark this page: This is where Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club will be having its discussion, starting at noon on Tuesday, May 7, of “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez.

We’ll be chatting in the comments below; feel free to leave a question or a thought about the book before the discussion begins. I’ll arrive online promptly at noon Tuesday to facilitate the discussion. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book. (For those who haven’t yet finished the book: You’re welcome to join us but please be aware that we’ll be discussing what we thought of the entire book, up to and including the ending.)

In the meantime, please feel free to join your fellow book lovers for spoiler-free book chat — about both “The Friend” and books in general — at Moira’s Book Club group on Facebook. If you’d like to join, here’s the link: facebook.com/groups/stbooks/

Reminder to all who plan to join the discussion: This page, and the Facebook group, are spoiler-free zones until noon on Tuesday, at which time those who haven’t finished the book will need to be aware that some of us may want to discuss the ending and other potentially revealing content. Also, a reminder that the discussion will be moderated, and off-topic comments (that is, comments that aren’t about the book) may be deleted. Any questions? Shoot them to me here or at mmacdonald@seattletimes.com, and I look forward to chatting on Tuesday!