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Summary and book reviews of The Bear by Andrew Krivak

The Bear

by Andrew Krivak

The Bear by Andrew Krivak X
The Bear by Andrew Krivak
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  • Published:
    Feb 2020, 224 pages

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Book Summary

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain.

They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature's dominion.

Excerpt
The Bear

The last two were a girl and her father who lived along the old eastern range on the side of a mountain they called the mountain that stands alone. The man had come there with a woman when they were young and built a house out of timber, stones pulled from the ground, and mortar they made with a mix of mud and sand. It was set halfway up the mountain's slope and looked out onto a lake ringed with birch trees and blueberry bushes that ripened in summer with great bunches of fruit the girl and her father would pick as the two floated along the shore in a canoe. From a small window in front of the house—the glass a gift the woman's parents had given to her after having received it themselves from the generation before, so precious a thing had it become as the skill for making it was lost and forgotten—the girl could see eagles catching fish in the shallows of an island that rose from the middle of the lake and hear the cries of loons in the morning while her ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Slate
Beautiful. . . . So loving and vivid that you can feel the lake water and smell the sea. . . . A perfect fable for the age of solastalgia.

Forward Reviews
A lovely, unforgettable experience.

The Observer (UK)
Arresting, exquisite . . . The Bear is more than a parable for our times, it’s a call to listen to the world around us before it’s too late.

Booklist
[Krivak's] sentences are polished stones of wonder...The elegiac tone reflects what is lost and what will be lost, an enchantment as if Wendell Berry had reimagined Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A literary rejoinder of sorts to Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, Krivak's slender story assures us that even without humans, the world will endure...Ursula K. Le Guin would approve. An effective, memorable tale.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
With artistry and grace, National Book Award–finalist Krivak (The Sojourn) offers a story of endurance and a return to life with nature in a postapocalyptic world, where an unnamed father and daughter are the only remaining humans on earth...This beautiful and elegant novel is a gem.

Library Journal (starred review)
Poignant but not tragic, this end-of-civilization story shows that there's no loneliness in this world when we are one with nature.

Foreword Reviews
A lovely, unforgettable experience.

Author Blurb Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master's Son and Fortune Smiles
In spare and lovely prose, Andrew Krivak folds the deep past and the far future into a remarkable fable about our inheritance as humanity makes a harmonic return to the spirit and animal worlds. This book follows you, like a river under ice.

Author Blurb Salvatore Scibona, author of The End and The Volunteer
A tight yet expansive novel in prose so vivid you forget these are words and not the cedar, trout, and stones of a post-Anthropocene Earth.

Author Blurb Josh Weil, author of The New Valley and The Age of Perpetual Light
Crafted with as much care and mastery as the finest oaken bow, this is a book that manages to be both timeless and urgent, clear-eyed and tender-hearted, archetypal and unconventional: a bedtime tale told by a prophet. A wonder in itself.”

Reader Reviews

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