The Friend by Sigrid Nunez [in Library Journal]
Hillary Huber takes on human and canine characters with mindful, measured narration. The woman – an unnamed writing professor – lost her best friend and mentor to suicide. When she’s summoned postmortem by Wife Three (Wife One is a friend, Wife Two not at all, Wife Three the grieving widow), she’s bequeathed a Great Dane, Apollo, whose own mourning for his lost master might eclipse that of the human survivors.
Despite a no-dogs policy in her rent-controlled building, the woman reluctantly accepts the canine burden, and – as these relationships often go – the dog, in all his reluctant, oversized, growling glory, proves to be (wo)man’s best friend. Huber equally matches Sigrid Nunez’s (Salvation City) unblinking, straightforward presentation, never devolving into despair. From (dead) old friend to new (dog) friend, Nunez deftly plots a path toward emotional recovery.
Verdict: Pet lovers and book lovers will appreciate Nunez’s pithy ruminations on writing, relationships, wrongful death, and, of course, the healing power of our four-legged friends.