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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
At first glance, Andrew Krivak’s novel appears to be a straightforward story of postapocalyptic survival. The Bear is that, but it’s so much more. The book tells the story of an unnamed girl and her father, who seem to be the last remaining humans on earth, where only a few artifacts remain of the society that preceded them. When the girl is forced to learn to live on her own, she receives help from an unlikely source. This timely, emotional fable about the dual powers of nature and human endurance is profound in its simplicity. Like all the best fables, the wisdom of Krivak’s tale lingered long after we finished it.
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. The father teaches his child the rudiments of survival hunting, fishing, and other life lessons preparing her for a time when she will someday have to manage without him. That day comes sooner than expected, when, on one of their forays away from the protected mountain home he and his now deceased wife had constructed before their daughter's birth, he is bitten by an animal and soon after dies from infection. Then, the book takes a mystical turn when a bear befriends the girl, now 12, helping her recover from her father's death and teaching her where to find fish, nuts, berries, and other kinds of sustenance as they make the arduous trip back to her home, so she can inter her father's bones on the mountaintop where her mother's remains are buried. Krivak delivers a transcendent journey into a world where all living things humans, animals, trees coexist in magical balance, forever telling each other's unique stories. This beautiful and elegant novel is a gem.