Comments from the Judging Panel
This novel starts with a simple premise: a woman inherits a dog from a close friend who has committed suicide. This haunting reminder of a life just lost is the stanchion around which revolve the main character’s sharp, far-sighted thoughts, as she adjusts to grief aided by the imperfect solace of literature. A sensitive, restrained depiction of the shadow that love etches on us when it bursts and the thousand ways we accommodate it into our lives. With a prose both affecting and illuminating, Sigrid Nunez has written a splendid treatise on care taking that keeps wagging its tail at you long after you finish reading.
About the Novel
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 traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.
While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. 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.
About the Author
Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels the most recent being The Friend. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. She contributes to numerous journals including The New York Times Book Review and The Paris Review. One of her short stories has been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2019.
An elegant, moving novel about love and loss. Free Library of Philadelphia, USA