The Bear

The Bear

by Andrew Krivak


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From National Book Award in Fiction finalist Andrew Krivak comes a gorgeous fable of Earth’s last two human inhabitants, and a girl’s journey home

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.

Andrew Krivak is the author of two previous novels: The Signal Flame, a Chautauqua Prize finalist, and The Sojourn, a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Chautauqua Prize and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire, in the shadow of Mount Monadnock, which inspired much of the landscape in The Bear.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942658702
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 64,883
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Andrew Krivak is the author of three novels: The Bear; The Signal Flame, a Chautauqua Prize finalist; and The Sojourn, a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Chautauqua Prize and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He is also the author of A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life, a memoir about his eight years in the Jesuit Order, and editor of The Letters of William Carlos Williams to Edgar Irving Williams, 1902–1912, which received the Louis L. Martz Prize. Krivak lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Customer Reviews

The Bear 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Jeannie3doxie 11 days ago
I absolutely devoured this beautiful Fairy Tale. I thought it was a wonderful story. The last human on earth sleeping in a Bear den with a talking bear is GOLDEN to me! The cover is really awesome but I keep thinking what if it was a human hand inside a bear paw. Yes, I truly ate this fable up. I think any adult with a bit of Fairy Tale left in them will like it. Great book!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I loved everything about this book. The storyteller way it was written, the content, and the nostalgia because it reminded me of books I loved as a child, like Julie of the Wolves and Island of the Blue Dolphins - those books always sparked a spirit of adventure in my heart and caused me to want to learn to be more self-sufficient and braver. This book is for any age, and I hope it becomes a "classic."
HannahMVestal 3 months ago
The Bear is a poignant novella about a young girl and her father in a post-apocalyptic world, and their survival off the land. Neither the girl nor the father or named in the story, nor are there quotation marks when someone is speaking, but somehow it fits in the story. The focus of the story is the bear, and the father and daughter are living in its world. I enjoyed this bittersweet tale of living off the land. It left me wondering more about the world they live in, such as how the father and daughter became the last people in the world-or, I suppose, that they know of. How much time passed since the apocalypse occurred? These are questions that are not really answered, but also aren’t relevant to the story at hand. It does make one wonder, however. The Bear is definitely worth a read, especially for fans of books such as My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book as an eARC.
Verkruissen 3 months ago
The Bear by Andrew Krivak is an easy read about a father and daughter who are the last people in the world. The father is raising his daughter alone in a world in which they coexist with nature and the stories that are passed on though humans and nature. When the daughter finds herself alone in an unfamiliar place a bear teaches her about survival and how the stories of the world are passed on through trees and animals. The girls survival in the wilderness reminded me of Jean M. Auel's "The Clan of the Cave Bear" with how she has to create weapons and tools to survive the harsh winter in a cave far from home. The Bear is a beautifully written book that brings to mind stories of Native American folklore and magic.
PattySmith87 3 months ago
Many thanks to NetGalley, Bellevue Literary Press, and Andrew Krivak for an ARC in exchange for an honest review of The Bear. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. A simple yet stunning story that fills you with wonder. No wonder Andrew Krivak won the National Book Award for Fiction. His prose evokes every sound in nature so you feel the wind on your face, the crunch of the leaves, the smell of the grass. A father and his daughter in an Eden-like world, long after man has disappeared from the earth. The father teaches the daughter the ways of the land and reminds us of a time when respect for those who we share the earth with was vital. But nature can be cruel and as they travel days to retrieve much needed salt from the ocean, the father dies. A bear who has been passed down the knowledge of human language, accompanies the girl on her travels back home. This move at a serene pace, with a gentle push forward as the trials and tribulations that living off the land can bring. The relationship between the father and daughter is loving, tender, and so supportive. He is raising a strong independent girl that will know how to survive once he no longer is around. He tells her stories of her mother and the animals with awe and respect. He teaches her well because when the bear observes her, he does so also with respect. He sees the way she kills an animal, thanks the animal spirits, gives back to the land and uses all parts of the animal so nothing goes to waste. The bear helps her survive the trek back to her home. Their relationship is also beautiful and magical. But there is a third character, the land. She can be kind or cruel, is always magnificent. This is one of those special books that you can read over and over again. Each time you revisit the story, you will find something else to marvel about. I was entranced the whole time I was reading it. It really did transport me to a new world, I was sad to leave the characters and loved the prose. One of my favourite reads in a while.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great novel about the only two people left on Earth. A fable about survival in the wilderness, when you are all alone. This is a beautiful story about the relationship between a father and daughter, love, loss and the connection between humans and nature. It's a short book, profoundly worth the read. ***I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review of this book***
The_Brown_Bookloft 4 months ago
Summary: A man and his daughter live alone at the edge of a forest. The man’s wife died a few months after the girl was born. As the girl grows, her father teaches her the skills she needs to survive in the wilderness. She learns to hunt animals for food, using the skins for clothing and bones for tools and weapons. On the solstice each year the girl’s birthday, her father takes her on a pilgrimage hike up the nearby mountain to visit the woman’s grave. He gives her small birthday gifts. Usually it is something her mother once owned, sometimes it is something he made for her. When the girl was small, he carried her on his back. Now, at twelve years old, she is strong enough to climb the mountain with him. The year she turns twelve, the man also decides that it is time to head to the ocean in search of salt. They prepare for a long journey, packing essentials. The man decides to leave his bow at home, telling the girl that she is a good enough huntress now to supply them with meat. This becomes a fateful decision when the man meets an unexpected danger. Alone, the girl must learn to draw on her training, inner strength and resources to survive. A bear becomes her companion. He guides and instructs her on what she needs to do to survive the long, cold winter away from home. Comments: The Bear is a remarkable post-apocalyptic fable. I don’t remember ever reading anything quite like it. The detailed descriptions of nature and it’s bounty are breathtaking. Despite the ending of humanity, it is a book full of hope. Highly recommended for readers of Literary Fiction and Post-Apocalyptic fiction.
singingshauna 4 months ago
There is a magic in this storytelling. There is a simplicity in this storytelling. It made me feel relieved that nature in all it’s glory - fish and bears and cougars, and trees and plants and honeybees, survived whatever happened to end humans. A lovely read. Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for ARC.
Sara_Jo 4 months ago
A lyrical tale reminiscent of folklore passed down through generations. My heart and mind as so full that I struggle to put it all into words. I was struck in the first few paragraphs and did not stop until it was finished. The description was simple yet poetic and left it very easy for my mind to picture it all. I was so easily drawn into the world of the man and the girl. More than once, it left me saddened by the modern rat race which has forgotten most of the ways of living spoken of in this book. Sad for the forgotten beauty and respect of nature and animals gifted us by God. I was provided with an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
CRSK 4 months ago
There are just these two, a girl and her father, the last two left living on the eastern range of this mountain. Once, another time, it had been the man and a woman who had come to this place, had built a house using stones from the earth, timber and cement made from limestone, a glass window which was so rare now, handed down to the woman from her parents, and from the generations that came before. The woman was no longer there, she lay underneath the stones and stars on the top of the mountain. They don’t possess much in the way of worldly goods, although they do have books, a comb, flint and steel, and they are blessed in other ways – from where their house sits halfway up the mountain, they overlook the lake encircled by bushes filled with blueberries and birch trees, eagles soaring overhead, and with other gifts of nature abundant. For food, they fish, hunt, or gather. And in those moments, he teachers her about the land, navigating by the stars, skills needed for survival. He shows her the importance of gratitude, an appreciation of the gift of life, as a gift given, and a gift taken. A fable set in a dystopian environment, a lovely ode to the beauty that abounds in the nature, and a cautionary tale for everyone and everything living here. Many thanks for the ARC provided by Bellevue Literary Press
Anonymous 4 months ago
A modern day fable about our connection to the environment (or, perhaps, a warning about how we've distanced ourselves from it) Andrew Krivak's The Bear is written in the style of a Brothers Grimm story. Describing the life of a girl raised in the wilderness, it asks timeless questions about our impact on the world - and its impact on us. It also includes tiny, brilliant moments of description that reminded me of 1" x 1" paintings. My only critique is that the formatting of the book made the dialogue a bit hard to separate from the overall narration at times.
357800 4 months ago
3.5 Stars. "Without you I'd be nothing but alone." THE BEAR is an enchanting little fable about loss and survival in the wilderness....with some pretty cool animal friendlies. Although post-apocalyptic, it's not blatantly obvious and is NOT dark. There are no villainous types waiting around the corner to steal what little you have or do you harm; the only fear being the elements, loss and loneliness....which is relentless. The story is simple. There's a man, a girl, a mountain home, a trip to the ocean and a wise old bear. There's also a loving relationship between father and daughter with many teachings of life and shared memories of man for his wife....girl's mother. A bit slow going here and there, (for me) but the somber descriptive prose so fit the environment. As for the ending....wonderful. Many thanks to Bellevue Literary Press and NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
Yolanda Margolin 4 months ago
Thank you to Bellevue Literary Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC. I chose this book to read because it was out of my comfort zone and as I started reading I was like, wow, YES, this is definitely out of my comfort zone. I read romance and ya books, mostly fantasy these days but I like my contemporary stuff too. This story is written like a fable and I put it down so many times I didn’t realize I’ve had it on my NetGalley for more than three months now! Well it was time to finish it. The writing is poetic and told like a fable but it is sparse and this book only clocks in at 224 pages! It took me three months to finish what I could usually finish in three hours. It was so hard for me to get into the story, I was so bored. There isn’t a plot. There is no punctuation when the characters speak. The characters have no names, on purpose though, but still, it bugged me. The father and daughter live in a post-apocalyptic world, surviving by living off the land, hunting for their food, preparing it and so forth, same for the next day. The father teaches her lessons, year after year of her life he gifts her something that will help her survive this life. It was a tale of survival, enduring and loss. But because I couldn’t quite get into reading the book, a lot of the message went over my head. It was definitely different and I did get the message of the book. It’s a story that makes you think, at least to question what the book was trying to say. It wasn’t for me but I think if you like books that read like a fable and don’t get hung up on things like punctuation, you would enjoy this.
lee2staes 4 months ago
The Bear is an enjoyable, intriguing read. Its descriptions, themes and events are very simple stated. However it works to create a interesting tale that left me better than before reading it. The story flows gently, taking us through a world in which there is both happiness and pain. It reads somewhat like a fairy tale as it describes a father and daughter, the last two humans on earth. It’s a very good book! I love the characters and enjoyed the story. I highly recommend it and will definitely read more by this author. I would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion of this book. #ReadTheBear #NetGalley
TJReads 4 months ago
This was such an enjoyable, short, quick read and I loved it! I am an avid reader going thru several books a week, but sometimes, you just need to sit back, slow down and enjoy a nice fairytale, this one certainly meets those requirements. It reminded me of The Snow Child, of which I also loved. This is a tender tale of the love between a father and his daughter and how they survived amongst the wilderness. I found this to be a magical tale, was thoroughly entertaining and I loved the girl. Sometimes in life you just need to sit back and enjoy a yarn like this one. Great read!! I highly recommend. I thank the publisher for giving me the opportunity to receive this book from Bellevue Literary Press through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This one gets 5*****’s.
Mareelynn 4 months ago
This book combines the elegiac, hauntingly spare prose of Cormac McCarthy's The Road with the vivid nature writing of Jack London, plus a dash of magical realism. It added up to something quite lovely and different from the usual "fall of mankind" tale. The writing is beautifully evocative, through each season and habitat, of the will to survive shared by all living things. I enjoyed this very much and look forward to reading more of Andrew Krivak's work.
ErraticElle 4 months ago
Intriguing, magical dystopian Hatchet with a mysterious, yet wonderful main character. A girl and her father are alone in the wilderness, perhaps the last of humankind. An accident occurs on their trek to the ocean for salt and the girl must find her way back alone. Alone, that is, save for the help of a talking bear. I put this one off for longer than I should was a surprisingly great read. There is so much packed in this short book. It was a mix of dystopian and magical realism that I would place at a young adult level. The writing style is very accessible and I felt like I really got to know the girl, despite the fact that I never knew her name. There is a LOT of very specific outdoors and survival information that fits compactly, but smoothly in the narrative. I would've liked more backstory...more information regarding the world and the circumstances that has led to the apparently dystopian society as well as the history of the girl's parents in particular. As it was, I was still entirely wrapped up in this tale, finding it both intriguing and educational from beginning to end. * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *
Reader4102 4 months ago
This book reads like a fable. And, like in most fables, character and world building are not important. What is important is what you take away from it. It seems readers either love this book or dislike it and each group takes different things from the reading of this book. If you can suspend the need for character development and the need to know why the father and daughter are the last humans, you’ll find a beautifully written story of love and survival. You’ll read a carefully crafted story of how nature intersects with humans and how if you listen, you’ll hear nature talking to you. My thanks to Bellevue and NetGalley for an eARC.
KarlieSch 4 months ago
Survival and humanity The Bear by Andrew Krivak was an enchanting read.  It reminded me a bit of being a child and being told stories around the campfire. I had been expecting a book that was a bit more dystopian, but was pleasantly surprised that most of the story could have easily occured in the wilderness of a non-dystopian world.  Part realistic fiction, part fable or folktale, this story of a girl and her father had a beautiful simplicity to it.  I really enjoyed its focus on human nature and survival.