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The Friend
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2018 Summer TOB > August: The Friend v Kudos

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments August's competition features two books whose titles fill me with dread for some reason despite their colorful covers:

The Friend by Sigrid Nunes and Kudos by Rachel Cusk


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 470 comments Amy wrote: "August's competition features two books whose titles fill me with dread for some reason despite their colorful covers:

And these are the two I'm most excited to read!


message 3: by Mo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mo (mohull) | 11 comments Is Kudos the third in a trilogy, requiring reading of the other two, or could one jump right in? Thanks!


message 4: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 05, 2018 09:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth Arnold | 958 comments Mo wrote: "Is Kudos the third in a trilogy, requiring reading of the other two, or could one jump right in? Thanks!"

It is, but they're not really connected, although they share the same main character. You can definitely read this without having read the others.


Lisa (lisgitt) | 88 comments I loved The Friend, and I usually avoid novels about animals. Cusk's trilogy has been on my TBR for ages. Maybe I'll finally tackle it.


Gwendolyn | 192 comments For anyone considering it, Cusk’s trilogy is a fast read. I’ve read the first two, and they each took me just a few hours. They’re very readable, and the dialog format kept me reading quickly and interested.


Bretnie | 505 comments I’m reading these two basically at the same time and it’s an interesting matchup. Both heavy on discussions of being a writer. As an anti-writer (I love reading, hate writing) both are maybe too meta for me, but they are at least fast reads and interesting.

Also, both have dogs.


Elizabeth Arnold | 958 comments I think I would've gotten confused if I'd read them simultaneously! They really are so similar in their storylessness. I loved both of these, and think it's going to be a tough competition. Kudos was my second favorite from the summer, but The Friend was my favorite because of the humor and pathos.

And even though I was fully engaged in the various lives Faye gives us in Kudos (and think maybe it was technically the better book) I cared more about the story/narrator in The Friend...It was the only book from those I've read in this summer's competition where I was sad when it was over.


message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments ...gonna start Kudos without any prior reading of the trilogy. Wish me luck!


Ellen H | 811 comments FWIW, I DO think that the three can be read in any order. I've just now finished Kudos, and while I had thought Outline did nothing for me, Transit made me appreciate it much more, and Kudos -- well, for most of it, I thought, hmmmm, Transit was the best of the three (I thought the stories people told were the most interesting), finishing Kudos was...extraordinary. I think the images towards the end of the book, first the lunch between the 3 women, then the phone call from Faye's son, and then the very ending, were so intense and indelible, I will have trouble getting them out of my mind. Now I have to figure out what it all means.


Bretnie | 505 comments Thank you for that insight Ellen - I’m about halfway through and put it down to take a break for something with more plot, but this encourages me to come back to it.


Ellen H | 811 comments Well, don't expect any more plot...


Bretnie | 505 comments Ha, for sure, just wasn’t sure if it would come together with any meaning in the end or if it would just end. :)


Ellen H | 811 comments I think there is meaning -- a LOT of meaning -- but I'm just not sure what it is.


Bretnie | 505 comments Ellen, I finished Kudos, and you're right - definitely an interesting meaning that I'll need some help with!


message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Bretnie wrote: "I’m reading these two basically at the same time and it’s an interesting matchup. Both heavy on discussions of being a writer. As an anti-writer (I love reading, hate writing) both are maybe too me..."

I'm listening to "The Friend" and reading "Kudos" and the protagonists get pretty mixed up in my mind! this makes 3/6 summer TOB books with writer protagonists!!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Link to today's ToB discussion of Kudos: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 08, 2018 01:33PM) (new)

Link to ToB discussion of second half of Kudos: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


Heather (hlynhart) | 332 comments Other than An American Marriage, which I had read earlier in the year, The Friend is the only book of the Summer ToB tournament I finished. I moved and took on a second job this summer so my reading time was drastically reduced and I find lately I just give up on a book and move on to the next unless I'm really compelled to keep reading. The Friend was the only one that filled that bill for me. Hope it wins!


Elizabeth Arnold | 958 comments I'll be interested to see whether anyone didn't like The Friend! I also hope it wins...It's the only book from the summer that I wouldn't mind re-reading in the winter.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 470 comments I've started reading The Friend and it's fine so far.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I didn't like Cusk's first two books, so I skipped Kudos. I liked The Friend well enough, at least as much as it is possible for me to like yet another book about writers in NYC. (Sigh)


Bretnie | 505 comments I liked The Friend, but didn't love it. A little too much into the world of writing/publishing for me. (and maybe dumb for me to have read Kudos and The Friend back to back). With Circe out, I'm really not sure who I'm going to vote for.


Elizabeth Arnold | 958 comments Welp, I guess I was wrong in assuming it would be universally loved! Maybe my love is because it just struck home for me on a personal level, I could relate to so much of the emotion behind the story (and the writing life), it was sad and funny and heartfelt...It took until I was about a third of the way in for me to love it, but after that I fell hard...


message 25: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle | 155 comments I am just starting The Friend but enjoying it much more than Kudos.


message 26: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I'll be interested to see whether anyone didn't like The Friend! I also hope it wins...It's the only book from the summer that I wouldn't mind re-reading in the winter."

I really really enjoyed the 2nd half of The Friend, but everytime YOU enters the discussion I just feel "UGH!" That kept it from a 4 or more star read for me.

I enjoyed that the final section turns the you from narcissistic-predatory-writer-professor-YOU to Great-Dane-you. I think the narrator might even refer to the former as 'him' a few times.


message 27: by Lisa (last edited Aug 14, 2018 05:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisgitt) | 88 comments I read The Friend a few months ago and absolutely loved it. Typically, I avoid books about animals because they come to a bad end. (If you look at my book list, this is a hilarious comment. I love disturbing books about people.) I think it would have been confusing to read it back to back with Kudos.

I read the Cusk trilogy in order and agree that they all stand alone. Outline was my favorite. I respect Kudos and worry that it might defeat The Friend. However, I got to a point with Kudos when I was ready for it to be over.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Link to the first half of the ToB discussion of The Friend: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


message 29: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Lisa wrote: "I read The Friend a few months ago and absolutely loved it. Typically, I avoid books about animals because they come to a bad end. (If you look at my book list, this is a hilarious comment. I love ..."

that's a little funny considering the 'something bad happens to the dog' discussion about books/movies the narrator discusses


Bretnie | 505 comments Amy wrote: "that's a little funny considering the 'something bad happens to the dog' discussion about books/movies the narrator discusses "

Totally! I had to laugh throughout The Friend whenever she pointed out that our true interest was whether the dog was ok. I admit it was my primary interest.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Here's the link to the final discussion of the tournament: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Friend (other topics)
Kudos (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Rachel Cusk (other topics)