The Bear
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 Eden-like future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They own a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches his daughter how to fish and hunt and 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 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.

The Bear Details

TitleThe Bear
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherBellevue Literary Press
ISBN-139781942658702
Rating
GenreFiction, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy, Adult Fiction

The Bear Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    A fable, an ominous tale for the human race, one that leaves us not knowing what the thing was that spares the beauty and bounty of nature, but no human beings save for a man and his young daughter. The beautiful writing and a story that held me, had me reading this in one day. I wasn’t surprised. I loved both of Krivak’s other novels. It’s taken me some time to write a review because I didn’t want to give too much away and still do justice to this story.In this novel there are amazingly A fable, an ominous tale for the human race, one that leaves us not knowing what the thing was that spares the beauty and bounty of nature, but no human beings save for a man and his young daughter. The beautiful writing and a story that held me, had me reading this in one day. I wasn’t surprised. I loved both of Krivak’s other novels. It’s taken me some time to write a review because I didn’t want to give too much away and still do justice to this story.In this novel there are amazingly beautiful descriptions of nature, touching tales of animals, stories that the girl’s father tells her of her mother, a story of a bear that saved a village, a story of a care giving puma. Tales and stories and lessons are told that will stay with the girl for the rest of her life. We don’t know when or where the story takes places and we don’t know their names. I’m usually left feeling detached from characters when they are not given names, but in this case I could not have been more emotionally involved with the man and his daughter. I felt them in their moments of pain and sadness and grief and in their moments of joy and relief. The care and love her father gives her teaching her to hunt, to fish, to make a bow and arrows, to survive by herself for the time when he is no longer with her melted my heart. It’s a joy to her and to the reader, when he teaches her to read. It was achingly sad, but at the same time beautiful when he takes her to the mountain where her mother’s remains are buried for the first time. This is a short book and I wanted there to be more of the story before that last chapter beautiful chapter. I won’t say much about the plot because you really have to experience this yourself. I’ll just say that this book is about a journey, a journey of survival, of instinct, of the desire to pay honor to a loved one, full of love and loss, joy and sadness, a journey of life. This is one of those books that will remain with me for its beauty and it’s significance. I received an advanced copy of this book from Bellevue Literary Press through NetGalley.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    A wondrous tale of love, loss and the natural world that remains. A father and his daughter, both unnamed, are the last two humans to inhabit the world. We don't know why, but birds, and animals, plants and fauna as well as fish are still present. The girls mother died when she was a year old, and while we don't know exactly where they are living, we do know it is near a mountain and a long trek away to the ocean. The years pass and soon the girl is alone, but only in human companionships, the A wondrous tale of love, loss and the natural world that remains. A father and his daughter, both unnamed, are the last two humans to inhabit the world. We don't know why, but birds, and animals, plants and fauna as well as fish are still present. The girls mother died when she was a year old, and while we don't know exactly where they are living, we do know it is near a mountain and a long trek away to the ocean. The years pass and soon the girl is alone, but only in human companionships, the animals call her the last one.I just love how this author writes, minimalist, no words wasted but at the same time just descriptive enough. This can be considered a myth, a fable, an allegorical tale or even magical realism. What it is not is a dystopic novel, though civilization as we know it is no longer present. Nature has reclaimed its own and the animals take on magical properties, or maybe they always had them for those who knew how to listen. Melancholy for sure but at the same time hopeful. We humans haven't managed to destroy everything, despite our attempts to do so, we have only destroyed ourselves. Maybe a morality tale, but a beautiful one.ARC from publisher.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    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 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. Pub Date: 21 Feb 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by Bellevue Literary Press
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Civilization has collapsed and humankind is extinct save for two survivors, Father and Girl. They live in a house constructed of timber, stones and cement, a house with a glass window, "a precious hand me down". The dwelling is set halfway up the mountain slope along the old eastern range of "the mountain that stands alone".Once they were a family of three. Girl was born on the day of the summer solstice. Yearly, on this day, Father and Girl climb to the top of "the mountain that stands alone" Civilization has collapsed and humankind is extinct save for two survivors, Father and Girl. They live in a house constructed of timber, stones and cement, a house with a glass window, "a precious hand me down". The dwelling is set halfway up the mountain slope along the old eastern range of "the mountain that stands alone".Once they were a family of three. Girl was born on the day of the summer solstice. Yearly, on this day, Father and Girl climb to the top of "the mountain that stands alone" to visit mother's resting place,"in the shade of the ledge shaped like a bear".Father teaches Girl about the land, bodies of water, how to "approximate" time, and how "to read" the stars and constellations. She learns to craft implements for hunting game and catching fish. Respect for the natural world comes in the form of fables about how a bear saved a village by keeping a promise and how the great hunter Thorn's respect for the animal world was reciprocated.A long, challenging journey unfolds. Survival is a daily struggle. Life is a seesaw of emotions; love, hope, frustration, and endings. Acceptance of the companionship and wisdom of a bear buoys spirits and deepens understanding of the co-dependence between man, the landscape and the animal world. "The Bear" by Andrew Krivak, by way of a dystopian literary novel, is a subtle foray into the balance between love and loss, hope and despair, and respect for animals and the environment. I highly recommend Krivak's "cautionary tale".Thank you Bellevue Literary Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Bear".
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 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 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 Krivak's somber descriptive prose so fit the environment. As for the ending.....wonderful.Many thanks to Bellevue Literary Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    ***NO SPOILERS***Full disclosure: Book abandoned at 33%.I was bored by this story. A father and daughter live alone somewhere in the wilderness, the implication being that they're the last few survivors after some apocalyptic event. In the beginning, the (nameless) father and (nameless) daughter spend time talking and hiking up a mountain, whose summit is shaped like a bear. Some magical realism elements come into play later in the story. The Bear reminded me in a few ways of The Road. It's ***NO SPOILERS***Full disclosure: Book abandoned at 33%.I was bored by this story. A father and daughter live alone somewhere in the wilderness, the implication being that they're the last few survivors after some apocalyptic event. In the beginning, the (nameless) father and (nameless) daughter spend time talking and hiking up a mountain, whose summit is shaped like a bear. Some magical realism elements come into play later in the story. The Bear reminded me in a few ways of The Road. It's about a father and his child surviving post-apocalypse; both characters are pointlessly nameless; and dialogue pointlessly lacks quotation marks. It isn't as bleak--I didn't feel the hopelessness that I felt while reading The Road--but it's dull because nothing happens and it's unclear where the story is heading. I disliked The Road, but at least it has some suspense and made me feel something. The only thing I did like about The Bear is the little fairy tale within this fairy tale. Maybe Andrew Krivak should have made that his story and scrapped this. NOTE: I received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley in June 2019.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine this premise—as articulated by Andrew Krivak—What would it be like if there were only two people left in the world? Would the world really be a place ravaged by war and covered in darkness and destruction, like so many works of fiction now imagine it? Or would nature have reclaimed everything but what the last two carry with them, sole reminders of the past?Andrew Krivak’s spare novel imagines the latter scenario. We don’t know and never learn why all of Earth’s inhabitants disappeared; Imagine this premise—as articulated by Andrew Krivak—What would it be like if there were only two people left in the world? Would the world really be a place ravaged by war and covered in darkness and destruction, like so many works of fiction now imagine it? Or would nature have reclaimed everything but what the last two carry with them, sole reminders of the past?Andrew Krivak’s spare novel imagines the latter scenario. We don’t know and never learn why all of Earth’s inhabitants disappeared; we only know that an unnamed father and his daughter remain. This is a contemplative novel, where nature owns the plot, and where the two who remain are intricately woven into the tapestry of nature. When the girl finds herself alone, it is a bear, a puma, and an eagle who will tend to her survival.There is a poignancy and a beauty in this fablelike novel that will appeal on two levels; first, to parents whose role is to guide their children forward, which I believe is Mr. Krivak’s intended audience. But also, it delivers powerful messages to those who are looking through the rearview of the mirror at their lives. One of the key themes—that no one or nothing is lost or has disappeared forever and that the universe goes on within and without you—is particularly touching to someone like me, who lost my mother last year. Deceptively simple but hauntingly constructed, The Bear, like most other fables, is partially symbolic: waiting out the long cold winter of one’s soul and emerging again, stronger and ready to survive. In an era when nature is handled so cavalierly by those who should be charged with its stewardship, there is also a sinking feeling of loss along with the inevitability that in the end, nature will be there after we’re gone. Those who prefer action plots would be advised to look elsewhere for their next read. But those who enjoy a cautionary tale that is meditative and lyrical will surely enjoy The Bear. Thank you to #BellevueLiteraryPress for an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    In The Bear, Andrew Krivak weaves a hauntingly beautiful novel of elegant simplicity, visually rich and unforgettable. The story of a girl and her father surviving alone in a wilderness becomes a fable, a testament to familial love, and a portrait of humankind's place in the world.This is a novel that entered my dreams, strangely offering a sense of peace and a feeling of oneness with the natural world. Strange because this is also a dystopian novel set in a future when mankind has disappeared In The Bear, Andrew Krivak weaves a hauntingly beautiful novel of elegant simplicity, visually rich and unforgettable. The story of a girl and her father surviving alone in a wilderness becomes a fable, a testament to familial love, and a portrait of humankind's place in the world.This is a novel that entered my dreams, strangely offering a sense of peace and a feeling of oneness with the natural world. Strange because this is also a dystopian novel set in a future when mankind has disappeared and his civilization has crumbled, reverted to its basic elements. These two remaining live an idealized oneness with nature. They have some antiques--a glass window, some moldering books, a silver comb, singular heirlooms of another time. The father teaches his daughter how to fish and hunt, how to turn animal fur into clothing and blankets, how to sew shoes from leather and sinew. They drink pine needle tea and gather nuts. The weeds we heedlessly poison become their salad. The maple helicopters that we curse when cleaning the gutters are their survival food.What a long way we have come, we humans with our large brains and big dreams and greedy appetites! I look about my yard and neighborhood and understand suddenly the plenty that surrounds me. Not just my father's apple trees that bore thousands of fruit this year, but the maple trees and the oaks down the road. Not just my raised bed of chard and kale but the weeds I diligently pull up one by one.Krivak's heroine is aided by her totem animal, the bear whose profile is seen in the mountain where her mother's bones rest. With winter, he sleeps and the girl is aided by a puma. These magical creatures feel a kinship--a kinship humanity has rarely returned.Oh, no, we are to conquer and subdue and use and abuse! But what has that gotten us?--Decimation of species, destruction of the environment, pollution that poisons us, alienation.The gorgeous style of Krivak's writing, his story of survival and death that somehow brings a sense of peace, the love and respect shown by his characters, the themes eternal and crucial, earmark this as a must-read novel.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is unbiased and fair.
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  • Mary Lins
    January 1, 1970
    “The Bear”, by Andrew Krivak, is a beautifully written, perfectly-paced, poignant, thoughtful, engaging, haunting, suspenseful, post-apocalyptic tale of a father and daughter – the last two humans on Earth. I found it profoundly touching.“The Bear” quite defies characterization re a genre. It’s not dystopian, certainly not sci-fi, and it’s not a fairy tale or a fantasy; maybe it’s an allegory, though it’s called a “fable” on the back cover, and perhaps that’s the best description. What I do know “The Bear”, by Andrew Krivak, is a beautifully written, perfectly-paced, poignant, thoughtful, engaging, haunting, suspenseful, post-apocalyptic tale of a father and daughter – the last two humans on Earth. I found it profoundly touching.“The Bear” quite defies characterization re a genre. It’s not dystopian, certainly not sci-fi, and it’s not a fairy tale or a fantasy; maybe it’s an allegory, though it’s called a “fable” on the back cover, and perhaps that’s the best description. What I do know though, is that it transported me by its beautiful descriptions of the natural world, and it allowed me to walk beside the girl and the man. It broke my heart and it made my heart soar. I’ve never read anything quite like it, and at the risk of trying to “over describe” my reaction to it, I urge readers who love elegant prose and unique characters, to find out for themselves the exquisite wonders that “The Bear” has to offer.
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  • switterbug (Betsey)
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Krivak wowed me before with THE SIGNAL FLAME, and before that, THE SOJOURN; both books have familial links to each other, and provide a window into grief and loss and, especially, letting go. Redemption is also an energetic but nuanced theme with this writer. THE BEAR is a completely different style and format—it is an adult fairytale, but the allegory reaches back to his past books and covers grief, shame loss, survival, and redemption.I am quite picky about adult fairytales, as they don Andrew Krivak wowed me before with THE SIGNAL FLAME, and before that, THE SOJOURN; both books have familial links to each other, and provide a window into grief and loss and, especially, letting go. Redemption is also an energetic but nuanced theme with this writer. THE BEAR is a completely different style and format—it is an adult fairytale, but the allegory reaches back to his past books and covers grief, shame loss, survival, and redemption.I am quite picky about adult fairytales, as they don’t always work for me. The writer must evoke more than a cleverness to twist an old fairytale into something new. Well, Krivak has done just that. It’s a parable that fits into the heart of Krivak’s overriding themes, and although it didn’t pack the same emotion for me as THE SIGNAL FLAME, I admit to feeling tender towards this father and daughter throughout the tale, the last two people on earth. I anticipated the ending, but it didn’t change my attitude toward the story. Krivak’s little family, living in the shadow of a mountain, evoked that sphere of unconditional love. The father taught lessons to his daughter, but he also conveyed deep feelings that can’t be taught; his daughter responded to him in kind. And her respect for the natural world was a family trait that was elegantly passed down to her. Some beautiful touches add to the atmosphere, such as animals who channel human traits and the girl who can communicate with animals. It’s a story about one small family, but as I turned the pages, it became a gentle but prophetic fable about the ceaselessness of Mother Nature, the end of the era of humans, and how this timeless march toward oblivion is both haunting and hopeful.Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy.
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  • Tish
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this adult fairy tale about a father and daughter (referred to throughout as “The Man” and “The Girl” a la The Road), the last two humans on earth. The first half of the book follows The Man and The Girl as he shows her how to survive, and tells her stories about her deceased mother, and tales of the bear who saved the village. The second half takes a bit of a detour, as The Man and The Girl embark on a quest to the ocean. This is when you will need to keep an open mind and I absolutely loved this adult fairy tale about a father and daughter (referred to throughout as “The Man” and “The Girl” a la The Road), the last two humans on earth. The first half of the book follows The Man and The Girl as he shows her how to survive, and tells her stories about her deceased mother, and tales of the bear who saved the village. The second half takes a bit of a detour, as The Man and The Girl embark on a quest to the ocean. This is when you will need to keep an open mind and embrace the experience. The prose is stunning, and reason alone to finish the novel. I was mesmerized. This book could be shelved with The Dog Stars, The Overstory, and of course, The Road. Thank you to Netgalley and Bellevue Literary Press for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    THE BEARBY ANDREW KRIVAKANREW KRIVAK YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. After reading, "THE SIGNAL FLAME," and absolutely loving it for its deeply humane and gorgeous prose and telling a fabulous story with some gentle characters. You can only imagine how excited I was to receive an ARC this morning after just requesting it last night. "THE BEAR," was pure poetry, a loving ballard to mortality, the planet with its beautiful landscapes of nature, of the love we feel for our families, THE BEARBY ANDREW KRIVAKANREW KRIVAK YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. After reading, "THE SIGNAL FLAME," and absolutely loving it for its deeply humane and gorgeous prose and telling a fabulous story with some gentle characters. You can only imagine how excited I was to receive an ARC this morning after just requesting it last night. "THE BEAR," was pure poetry, a loving ballard to mortality, the planet with its beautiful landscapes of nature, of the love we feel for our families, the love we feel for the lushness of the flora and fauna. There is so much to absolutely admire and appreciate about Andrew Krivak's latest crafted novel. The very beginning first few pages took my breath away in its spare imagery and poetic language. I felt like I was inside the story hovering above these lovely characters both human and animal.I devoured this beautiful fable in one short sitting and could feel the love that this father felt for his daughter in the way he gave her a meaningful gift every year of her birthday on my favorite day of the year also---the summer soltice, June 21, the longest day of the year. He honored his wife and daughter by teaching her how to make things to survive and always with respect for the land and animals. This novel refreshes me on this dreary winter day like the restorative peace I feel out in nature by myself. The evanescence of the simplicity with which they live appreciating and honoring their sources of food and don't waste a single part of the wild whether it be animal or plant or fish.I felt the overwhelming grief when the daughter told her father not to go down into the depth of the earth and he got bit by what I can only imagine on their way to collect salt from the ocean. I knew he was not going to be able to make the journey back. I found the stories within this story to be lovely. I felt such an overwhelming wave of emotion when she meets the bear and puma. I loved the magical realism of the bear explaining how every single form of life including the trees and the rivers communicate and how the trees have the everlasting memories that whisper to new generations of tales of all of the species. This had a bittersweet ending that only made me want more. I was truly bereft to realize that I was reading the last written prose but hopeful knowing I can read this again and again to nourish my soul.With the warmest thanks to Net Galley, the talented beyond words Andrew Krivak and Bellevue Publishing for generously sharing their eARC with me in exchange for a fair and honest review. There is so much more praise I could bestow to you all. It is easy with such a favorite author to want to share such a masterpiece with hopes this book gets all the recognition it deserves.Publication Date February 20, 2020
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  • Laura Hart
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful way to end the year. Moving portrait of the relationship between humanity and nature. A must read.
  • Anneke
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: The BearAuthor: Andrew KrivakPublisher: Bellevue Literary PressPublication Date: February 11, 2020Review Date: August 7, 2019I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb:“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 Book Review: The BearAuthor: Andrew KrivakPublisher: Bellevue Literary PressPublication Date: February 11, 2020Review Date: August 7, 2019I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb:“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.”I know my review is WAY early for the publication date. But I’ve read the author before, and knew I could not wait until next February. And I was right. This is one of those incredibly extraordinary, magical books full of the depths of everything, of love, of time, of the universe.Everything about the book was utter perfection. The few characters, the setting of the far future Earth, the story, the plot, the pace. The feeling. I sobbed while reading the last few pages, which is not something I do much anymore while reading. This is one of those unusual must-read literary books. I highly, highly recommend this book, 10 out of 5 stars! Please read this book when it comes out. You will not be sorry.Thank you to the publisher for allowing me an early look at this masterpiece. And best of luck to the author. This review will be published on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon.#netgalley #thebear #bellevueliterarypress #andrewkrivak
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  • Gia
    January 1, 1970
    More fable with its halcyon prose and mythic style, Krivak delivers a superbly written tale. The Bear narrates the story of a father and daughter, the last surviving humans on earth in a world where nature has reclaimed her primacy for all of creation. Knowing that she will outlive him, the father spends most of their time together teaching his daughter the skills to survive on her own. He does this with profound love and patience, always thinking ahead to prepare her for whatever she might More fable with its halcyon prose and mythic style, Krivak delivers a superbly written tale. The Bear narrates the story of a father and daughter, the last surviving humans on earth in a world where nature has reclaimed her primacy for all of creation. Knowing that she will outlive him, the father spends most of their time together teaching his daughter the skills to survive on her own. He does this with profound love and patience, always thinking ahead to prepare her for whatever she might face. Krivak’s incredible depiction of nature’s splendour in all its glory is in perfect balance with his representation of how quickly it can turn cruel and savage. When tragedy strikes, the young girl is left alone far from home, and so begins the fight for survival. The bear appears into her world as she sinks in sorrow and loneliness. In surreal realism, he talks to her, helps feed her, provides her with protection and guidance, and tells her stories. Slowly, she accepts his presence and together they embark on a fantastical and arduous journey to get her back home and to the mountain that stands alone.The Bear is a short read - deep with rare traces of light. It keeps a consistent pace between the grand, organic beauty of nature and the great sadness of loss and isolation.Yet, it is so beautifully and exceptionally written that it was not the heaviness I took from it, it was how the light of human nature will continue to shine long after the flame has gone out.Thank you to NetGalley and Bellevue Literary Press for the read of Andrew Krivak’s, The Bear.
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  • Meghan (TheBookGoblin)
    January 1, 1970
    *ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*Why am I feeling this? she asked. Because you're beginning to understand. Understand what? That every thing has its end. And we have a part to play, right up to that end.Sometimes a story doesn't have to contain flowery language or poetic verse to be incredible. Sometimes a story is beautiful in its subtlety and the pure truth that it offers. The Bear by Andrew Krivak falls in to the latter. This tale of loss, love and survival is *ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*Why am I feeling this? she asked. Because you're beginning to understand. Understand what? That every thing has its end. And we have a part to play, right up to that end.Sometimes a story doesn't have to contain flowery language or poetic verse to be incredible. Sometimes a story is beautiful in its subtlety and the pure truth that it offers. The Bear by Andrew Krivak falls in to the latter. This tale of loss, love and survival is simple in its language but powerful in its message.The Good: The Bear reminds us of our place in nature and our responsibility to it. The story begins and ends in a satisfactory loop that intimates both the continuity and reciprocity of life. We are a part of nature and yet we are also separate from it. Nature requires balance and respect. Krivak manages to convey this without shouting down the reader's throat, a difficult task.The Bad: The only downside I really have with The Bear is that I found myself procrastinating with reading because there isn't a ton of plot. I was a little bored, but sometimes that can't be helped when the message is more important than the action. I found it a little repetitive in places as well.TL;DR: The Bear is like a campfire tale told by a loved one that both entertains and passes on an important lesson. The stories we tell and are told by others are what shape us and help define our values. This beautiful fable reminds us that what we learn from those who come before us is important and lives on long after we're gone. I recommend The Bear to parents and children, since all of us are one, the other, or both.*Thank you to NetGalley and Bellevue Literary Press for the opportunity to review*
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Part fairy tale, part fable, a possible glimpse into our future? It takes a good deal of suspension of disbelief to stay with this story. I will admit I gave up half-way through. I just was not drawn to the characters or to their story enough to finish.
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  • Estee
    January 1, 1970
    ”The bear looked into the fire then and said, The wood you burn to cook your food and keep you warm? The smoke that rises was once a memory. The ashes all that is left of the story it belonged to.”I thought this story was beautiful. It’s a story about a father and daughter and nature. I loved the relationship between the father and daughter, especially that he was teaching her survival skills. I love how they live off the land and respect it. It reminded me of the first half of “Where the ”The bear looked into the fire then and said, The wood you burn to cook your food and keep you warm? The smoke that rises was once a memory. The ashes all that is left of the story it belonged to.”I thought this story was beautiful. It’s a story about a father and daughter and nature. I loved the relationship between the father and daughter, especially that he was teaching her survival skills. I love how they live off the land and respect it. It reminded me of the first half of “Where the Crawdads Sing” which I enjoyed very much. Part story, part fable and part fiction it was a riveting read and I enjoyed it very much! Thank you to NetGalley and Bellevue Literary Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Hope Reads
    January 1, 1970
    This book will easily become one of the classics. The writing is poetically phenomenal. There is beautiful imagery throughout the entire book and the journey you go through while reading this story will leave you in tears. This book will make you want to connect with nature and find the signs of nature's voice. It will give you a whole new respect for our environment.At first, this book is quite depressing, but you must keep reading! This is not just a tale of sorrow. It is a tale of hope and This book will easily become one of the classics. The writing is poetically phenomenal. There is beautiful imagery throughout the entire book and the journey you go through while reading this story will leave you in tears. This book will make you want to connect with nature and find the signs of nature's voice. It will give you a whole new respect for our environment.At first, this book is quite depressing, but you must keep reading! This is not just a tale of sorrow. It is a tale of hope and human resilience. Even after we are gone, we will continue. We are apart of nature and nature is never ending.The writing style in this novel is very unique. The Father and the Girl do not have names. They are just the Father and the Girl, just as the bear is the Bear and the puma is the Puma. I really think this helps us as readers realize that we are one with nature. The author chose to not use quotation marks which can be a little confusing when reading through dialogue, but fits in with the style of his writing which is very much like Cormac McCarthy's style, but without all the gore. (which I appreciate soooo much!)Overall, this is definitely one of my top reads for this year. I cannot recommend this book enough! Please give this book a read!Thank you to Netgalley and Bellevue Literary Press for sending me this eARC.Check out the full review :https://aashareads.blogspot.com/2019/...
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  • Debi Hawkes
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written book, nicely paced. But I kept waiting for something "more".
  • Shannon (Wine, Tea, & Paper)
    January 1, 1970
    224 PagesPublication Date: February 12, 2020Published by Bellevue Literary PressAverage Goodreads Rating: 3.71RATING BREAKDOWN:Storyline: Characters:Writing: Emotion:Overall:(4.87)REVIEW:“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.”Synopsis (thanks to Goodreads):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 224 PagesPublication Date: February 12, 2020Published by Bellevue Literary PressAverage Goodreads Rating: 3.71⭐️RATING BREAKDOWN:Storyline: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫Characters:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Writing: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Emotion:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Overall:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫(4.87)REVIEW:“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.”Synopsis (thanks to Goodreads):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.The Bear by Andrew Krivak is reminiscent of a folktale or a fairytale of a girl and her father who learn to love and live off the land.The father tells the girl stories of the land that were passed down to him from generations before him or stories of her mother who had died after childbirth. These stories are very important. Before our modern age (and I’m talking waaaay back) stories were passed down verbally between friends and families. And now, after the fall of man and modern civilization, we fall back to the passing of stories by mouth. The bear in this tale also passes down stories to the girl by mouth, which makes me think that maybe that is the way that stories are meant to be shared. A more personal and intimate way than the mass-produced way that we share stories today.The father and the girl live simply and live day to day. The father passes down all of his knowledge to the girl so she can survive into adulthood. I freaking loved the lessons that the father taught the girl. One of my favorites was when a family of geese moved to the water supply where they fished. The father gave the girl some options of how to prevent the geese from stealing the fish, and ultimately the girl chose to shoot the goose and the gander to prevent further goslings from being born. The girl was upset that she had to kill the geese and wished there was a way that she could have explained to the geese that they couldn’t have stayed there instead of killing them and oh my god my heart!The girl is such a wise and sweet soul in the way that she interacts with nature and the animals around her. I believe that she was one with nature and that is why she was able to make some friends later on in the tale 😉 (no spoilers!!)I was engaged with the story the whole time and found myself wishing the girl would somehow find someone and be able to have babies and keep the human race going. But, as I kept reading I realized that is not what this book is about. The Bear is about nature and that like it or not we are disposable and nature will survive on with or without us.This story touched a string in my heart because of my own connection with nature. This planet and what it has to offer is much bigger than we are and we sometimes forget that.I recommend this book to all of those who love nature and animals. A very enjoyable read!*I was given a free advanced readers copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*all opinions are my own
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  • Colleen
    January 1, 1970
    I am so surprised by the number of negative reviews for this little novel—I think it's an absolute gem, perhaps a masterpiece, and I believe it will become a niche classic and hopefully win awards. And I came to it as a reluctant reader, because I'm neither a fan of dystopia (it's actually not dystopian, even though it's about the last two people on earth) nor of magical realism or fantasy (it has elements of those). I discovered it because I met the author at his signing at the American Library I am so surprised by the number of negative reviews for this little novel—I think it's an absolute gem, perhaps a masterpiece, and I believe it will become a niche classic and hopefully win awards. And I came to it as a reluctant reader, because I'm neither a fan of dystopia (it's actually not dystopian, even though it's about the last two people on earth) nor of magical realism or fantasy (it has elements of those). I discovered it because I met the author at his signing at the American Library Association conference, and the galley sat on my desk for a few months before I finally opened it up... and then I couldn't put it down. To me, this is a gorgeously written fable about family and humanity's relationship to the natural world. Some readers have trouble with the lack of plot, but this isn't an adventure story or a thriller or a family drama. If you go into it expecting one of those things, you'll be disappointed. But for readers who love the natural world and have a contemplative streak, I cannot recommend it enough. (I'm just back from a family trip to the Sierras, and I gave it to my uncle, who read it immediately, wept, went for a hike in the pines, and started reading it all over again.)
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  • Brie
    January 1, 1970
    thank you to net galley for the advanced copy. all opinions are my ownI really, really liked this book. It was such an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world - one that is so far in the future, it almost feels like the past. And maybe I enjoyed it so much because I read it right after finishing a 7 day hike along the West Coast Trail so the process of surviving in nature was fascinating to me.The Bear is a beautifully written book about a girl and a man (her father) and they are the last thank you to net galley for the advanced copy. all opinions are my ownI really, really liked this book. It was such an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world - one that is so far in the future, it almost feels like the past. And maybe I enjoyed it so much because I read it right after finishing a 7 day hike along the West Coast Trail so the process of surviving in nature was fascinating to me.The Bear is a beautifully written book about a girl and a man (her father) and they are the last two humans on the planet (as far as they or we know). It's a quiet story about the trials and tribulations of their isolated life in the wilderness. When the book opens, the girl is very young and her father is teaching her everything he can about survival as he knows he will not be around forever. The years pass, the girl grows, and so does her expertise and knowledge. It's not even that a lot happens in the book, or anything dramatic, but the writing is so well done that I enjoyed every word of it and looked forward to picking it up. It's also not a long book, and the author didn't feel the need to drag it out for far too many pages. Some reviewers have said they found the minute details boring, but on the contrary, I really liked all the bits about survival and how much work it actually takes. There's a part in the book where you have to suspend your disbelief for a bit - and really, I had no problem with this and it didn't take away from the story for me at all. Think of it as a fiction piece mixed in with a bit of folklore and maybe you will see the magic in this book too.
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  • Madeline Cathryn
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to the author for giving me a digital copy in exchange for a review. I feel bad about giving this a low rating, but truthfully, I wasn't a fan of the book. The thing is, I felt like there was no real driving plot in the book. It just felt like the girl and her bear going on with their lives and surviving in the wild. That didn't interest me very much, and I felt like nothing really happened in the book. The aspect I liked was the descriptions in the writing. Things were described Many thanks to the author for giving me a digital copy in exchange for a review. I feel bad about giving this a low rating, but truthfully, I wasn't a fan of the book. The thing is, I felt like there was no real driving plot in the book. It just felt like the girl and her bear going on with their lives and surviving in the wild. That didn't interest me very much, and I felt like nothing really happened in the book. The aspect I liked was the descriptions in the writing. Things were described beautifully and the author used "show don't tell" a lot. It really helped set a mood/tone. What I did not like about the writing style was that there were no quotation marks to indicate when someone was talking. There wasn't to much talking in the book, but quotation marks would've helped.Anyways, thanks to the author once again for the e-copy
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The first half of this book was a solid 3.5 stars read to me. The premise and the writing style reminded me a lot of McCarthy’s The Road, but I surmise that was intentional. Though this book felt more poetic to me, more like a fairy-tale, and certainly less bleak and dark - though The Bear does have its sad moments.I wish that feeling had stayed with me during the second half of the book. But unfortunately it gave way to boredom. The action was repetitive, the dialogue almost non-existent and The first half of this book was a solid 3.5 stars read to me. The premise and the writing style reminded me a lot of McCarthy’s The Road, but I surmise that was intentional. Though this book felt more poetic to me, more like a fairy-tale, and certainly less bleak and dark - though The Bear does have its sad moments.I wish that feeling had stayed with me during the second half of the book. But unfortunately it gave way to boredom. The action was repetitive, the dialogue almost non-existent and there was nothing gripping left anymore. 2.5 StarsThanks to the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    In the midst of dystopian largesse, Andrew Krivak delivers a refreshing, folksy, and touching story of a post-industrial world. Not without tragedy, The Bear tells the uplifting tale of a young woman as she learns to live at one with nature in a wild new world generations after the collapse of human civilization. Beginning with her father, our young protagonist is ushered into adulthood by a series of mentors who teach her not only practical survival skills but important lessons about nature’s In the midst of dystopian largesse, Andrew Krivak delivers a refreshing, folksy, and touching story of a post-industrial world. Not without tragedy, The Bear tells the uplifting tale of a young woman as she learns to live at one with nature in a wild new world generations after the collapse of human civilization. Beginning with her father, our young protagonist is ushered into adulthood by a series of mentors who teach her not only practical survival skills but important lessons about nature’s reciprocity and humanity’s place in the circle of life. The Bear isn’t about human devastation, it is about human resilience and interconnectedness. A simple story written with an unflinching but compassionate voice, Krivak’s tale should be thoughtfully savored while it slowly winds its way into your moral conscience. (Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advance copy to review.)
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  • Lillian
    January 1, 1970
    The Bear does not fold into any specific category or genre.Fable might be the best way to describe it albeit one with gorgeous prose and luscious descriptions of the natural world.Krivak reminds us of our own frailty and the fierce bond between human and animal with little if any difference between the two.I applaud Bellevue Literary Press for its heightened awareness of quality books and stories.Thank you for the ARE.I am grateful for the opportunity to read The Bear.
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  • Casey Dorman
    January 1, 1970
    Lyrical and visionary, The Bear combines elements of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. A young girl and her father are the last remaining humans in a post-apocalyptic world, in which nature is abundant in the form of animals and vegetation. The girl’s father teaches her to make a bow to hunt and to make clothing and food. He tells her stories about her dead mother and about the animals. He teaches her to hunt. Together they visit the top of the mountain shaped like a Lyrical and visionary, The Bear combines elements of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. A young girl and her father are the last remaining humans in a post-apocalyptic world, in which nature is abundant in the form of animals and vegetation. The girl’s father teaches her to make a bow to hunt and to make clothing and food. He tells her stories about her dead mother and about the animals. He teaches her to hunt. Together they visit the top of the mountain shaped like a bear and he shows her the grave of her mother and explains why he made it the way he did. They head for the ocean to gather salt, but the father is bitten by a strange creature and dies. The girl begins to mourn and stops caring for herself, but a bear appears and talks to her, guiding her. They begin a journey back to her home, the bear and the girl conversing along the way. When he hibernates, she tries to leave but almost dies until she is saved by a mountain lion, who also talks to her and an eagle who does the same. This is a magical story, but the author’s descriptions of nature and the simple tasks that the father and daughter do to keep their isolated life going are captivating. There is an inspirational appreciation of nature and of its creatures at the center of the story. The reader is transported by the tale and the words used to tell it, despite no explanation for the demise of the rest of humanity or the anthropomorphic abilities of the animals, and even the plants. It is difficult not to fall under the story’s spell and appreciate the wonder of nature without humans in it.The Bear is a very unusual story. It’s point is in its telling. The plot is simple and it charms the reader by opening his or her eyes and ears to the natural world around us. Its only lesson may be that humans are not at the center of that world. I think The Bear will become a classic and provide much joy as it is discovered and rediscovered by readers of all ages.
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  • Chris Tweitmann
    January 1, 1970
    A simple and yet richly deep story about life, love, loss, and kinship. All that is left of humanity is a father and a daughter. Their rustic home sits halfway up the range of “the mountain that stands alone.” Roughly a day’s hike above their house, at the top of the mountain, is where the woman the father loved and the mother the daughter never really knew has been laid to rest. The summit of this lone mountain is shaped like the head of a bear.Initially venturing little beyond this stretch of A simple and yet richly deep story about life, love, loss, and kinship. All that is left of humanity is a father and a daughter. Their rustic home sits halfway up the range of “the mountain that stands alone.” Roughly a day’s hike above their house, at the top of the mountain, is where the woman the father loved and the mother the daughter never really knew has been laid to rest. The summit of this lone mountain is shaped like the head of a bear.Initially venturing little beyond this stretch of territory, lessons of survival, remembrances of the past, and insights into nature are shared between this parent and a child. Eventually, a longer journey is called for beyond the comforts of what is familiar and into the great unknown. In that journey is the discovery of the sacred communion and companionship even in the midst of the perceived isolation of a broken world and the seemingly indifferent forces of nature.While calling to mind both Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, this narrative boldly and beautifully goes its own way. It refreshingly imagines a post-apocalyptic planet not as some dark, desolate, and fearful place but rather as being gradually reclaimed and renewed by nature. The writing of this tale is subtle and poignant. Filled with poetical imagery and yet tight prose, this is a story that is basic in its plot but thought-provoking and powerful in its message. The bonds we forge in life are what keep us going — keep us alive. And those bonds are formed by listening carefully and closely — not just to another person but to the world around us — nature itself. Mesmerizing. Poignant and haunting. Quietly gorgeous. I strongly recommend this book.Thank you to Netgalley and Bellevue Literary Press for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chava
    January 1, 1970
    A different take on a post-apocalyptic tale, Andrew Krivak's The Bear explores themes of legacy in a story about a man and his daughter surviving in the wilderness as the last two living people to represent the whole of mankind. This book is extremely slow at points and I thought of giving up, but it's worth it to push through. Perhaps, it's illustrative in this way.I had never read anything by Andrew Krivak, a previous National Book Award finalist, before. His writing is smooth, almost sleepy A different take on a post-apocalyptic tale, Andrew Krivak's The Bear explores themes of legacy in a story about a man and his daughter surviving in the wilderness as the last two living people to represent the whole of mankind. This book is extremely slow at points and I thought of giving up, but it's worth it to push through. Perhaps, it's illustrative in this way.I had never read anything by Andrew Krivak, a previous National Book Award finalist, before. His writing is smooth, almost sleepy (in a good way), and poetic. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of dystopian fables.Thank you to Andrew Krivak, Bellevue Literary Press, and NetGalley for allowing me early access to the e-book to review. As always, all opinions are my own.
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