The Bear Went Over The Mountain
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The Bear Went Over The Mountain

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,141 ratings  ·  176 reviews
You might think that a writer best-known for novelizing the movie "E.T." would find a satire on the book publishing industry hitting a bit close to home, but William Kotzwinkle seems quite comfortable with the task in this comic fable. In Kotzwinkle's merry send-up, the author of the hit novel "Desire and Destiny" is a bear, a real bear, who after finding the manuscript un...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Black Swan (first published September 1st 1996)
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Derek Haines
I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed ninety-five percent of this read. A fantastic plot and it kept me giggling to myself almost all the way through. Hal Jam grabbed me from the moment he stole the briefcase and manuscript. Hardly fair, but the characterization of literary agents gave me a good laugh. Great read for any writer. The only criticism I have is that the ending seemed to be all a bit rushed. I wonder if an editor was making it fit into a word count?
Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick
This book is awesome, plain and simple.

I worked at a Barnes and Noble in Wichita, KS when I bought this book. Back then I used to buy a lot of books based solely on the neatness of their cover and the quality of the binding. I'm pleased to say that this book had top marks in both categories and therefore warranted a purchase. Never did I imagine that I would find such a hilarious, scathing satire on the world of publishing and, indeed, modern society.

I thought that the title was going to be a me...more
Daniel
This book is amazing. I read it in my late teens; I read it in my late twenties; and I have read it a third time in my mid-thirities. Every time I have read this book, I have loved it.

Reading it now, what strikes me is the word-play that Kotzwinkle employs to both underline the ridiculous situation he has created and the fun that can be had thereafter. The phrase, "because he was a bear," works time and time again to great effect.

I am sure that I will return to this book again--and that I will,...more
Blair
I don't know which character I'm supposed to sympathize with; if any. I can see the similarities drawn between this book and "Forrest Gump". Hal Jam (the bear) floats along without saying much but is still handed the keys to the kingdom. In the end I felt sorry for Art Bramhall, who we are led to believe has found happiness with his character assassinated, his identity stolen and the loss of a chance of millions of dollars. No, he's happy in the forest having traded places with the bear. I didn'...more
Cindy
I didn't FINISH the book; I finished READING the book. There is a difference. It had been on my TBR list for so long, I forgot why I put it on there. Guess the back blurb..."complicated satire, hilarious fun, and barbs of steel amid fields of whimsy" called out to me some years ago. I shouldn't have answered.
Basic premise of the book: A bear finds a manuscript in a briefcase in the woods, and pretends he is the author. Jeepers. That should have stopped me right there.
I've found that anything des...more
Terina
I thought the idea of this book was interesting and unique. A bear finds, steals, and passes off as his own a book written by a professor. The chapters alternate between the bear who is pretending to be human and the professor who is becoming more and more like a bear. The reactions of the people around the bear are funny . . . they hear long self serving answers in the bear's short, nonsensical answers. This is great commentary on the nature of fame, publicity, and even the academic profession....more
Dan
Amusing. It's a little bit Being There, a little bit "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" (Jorge Luis Borges), perhaps even a little "The Emperor's New Clothes." Although the novel is for the most part a satire on celebrity obsession, it includes some useful exploration of the theme of identity.
John
May 19, 2010 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to John by: Dot Roberts
Shelves: bookcrossing, humour
A Bookcrossing book passed from Dot. A funny story of a bear that steal a manuscript that turns in to a best seller. Everyone around him is so wrapped up in his celebrity that they don't recognize that he is a bear. The book pokes fun at all sorts of modern life.

If you like this type of story try reading Happiness: A Novel the story of another best seller that spins out of control - very funny. It was originally titled "Generica"
Pia
La recensione è anche su Fantasy Magazine: http://www.fantasymagazine.it/libri/1...

E se ce l'aveste fatta? Se dopo numerosi tentativi fallimentari foste riusciti a scrivere il romanzo dei vostri sogni? Quello che vi spalanca le porte dell'Olimpo della letteratura e vi fa schizzare il cima alla classifica degli autori di best seller? Riuscite a immaginarlo? Bene. Provate ora a immaginare se il frutto delle vostre fatiche vi venisse sottratto. E provate a figurarvi nientemeno che un orso nell'atto...more
Susan
This book is so funny and quirky that you just have to read it. I heard about it on an NRP interview about books to cure the winter blahs -- and they were right on.

The premise is that the main character is a bear who finds a lost manuscript and takes over the authors life. Everyone thinks the bear is "fresh" and "wordly" and wants to ride the coat tails of this up and coming new "author."
Eric Susak
This magical-realist take on stolen identity is not only comical, it also analyzes how one's nature and preconceptions influence their understanding of the world.
John Frankham
I couldn't be bothered to write my own review of this puerile, pretentious book. The following is the previous review that fits my views best:

I really didn't care for this book. It started off amusing but really went downhill for me. If this is supposed to be a modern fairytale then the only conclusion I can make from it is that crime pays. The author does not appear to think much of the publishing/entertainment industry, politics, or women. Come to think of it, he doesn't seem to think much of...more
Kirsty
This is one of my Dads favourite books, so after a little push from him, I agreed to give it a go. It made me think of Forest Gump and The 100 year old man who climbed out of his window....

'The bear' ended up living an amazing life mostly through chance, and with little understanding/knowledge of how fortunate he was to have lived and experienced the things he did.
I enjoyed that naivity of the bear and the humour in those around him who interprested the impossible. If you like a little black hu...more
Andrea
Ein Bär klaut also ein Manuskript und kommt als Schriftsteller groß raus. Kann man aus dieser Idee einen lustigen Roman machen? Natürlich nicht. Natürlich lache ich, wenn sich ein Bär im Restaurant auf dem Boden wälzt und die Frauen denken "endlich ein richtiger Mann" und die Verleger "endlich ein zweiter Hemingway". Ein Witz, ein Lacher. Aber alle weiteren Witze folgen dem gleichen Schema F: Ein Bär zeigt uns, dass Frauen auf Bären stehen und Verleger auf Holzfäller. Nach spätestens fünfzig Sei...more
Nekouken
I adored this book. I don't know what made me pick it up in the first place, but I'm very glad I did.

First, the concept makes for a fantastic satire of publishing. I'm not sure why, but works that satirize the fields that produced them always tend to make me smile. I loved this book, I loved Get Shorty, which rags on the movie industry, and generally creative people biting the hands that feed them are nothing but fun.

Second, the story is too much fun. The bear rides a very fine line between huma...more
❥ Azzurra
Sono felice di dire che il libro si è dimostrato all’altezza delle aspettative.
L’orso che venne dalla montagna è un libro veramente divertente, che non scade nel banale e anzi mantiene un tono irriverente e umano in ogni riga.
Non ho mai letto E.T. e tantomeno ho visto per intero il film, nonostante sia un classico osannato (non picchiatemi! ho ancora tempo per rimediare ;), posso dire però che Kotzwinkle con questo testo ha acquisito un nuovo affezzionato lettore.
Ogni passo che ha visto il no...more
Ewurama
It’s got to be hard to write a funny book, so I always give authors props for even trying. In the case of The Bear Went Over the Mountain, the book had its moments, but it was pretty much the same joke over and over, writ large across the plot: people hear what they want to hear; they see what they want to see; and nobody wants to be left out.

The storyline is basically this: a bear finds the manuscript of a novel hidden at the base of a tree in the woods, claims it as his, puts on a business su...more
Tracey
"There ain't nothing so deep as a bear."

A bear in Maine, snuffling around for food, stumbles across a novel manuscript, which he decides to take to New York & claim as his own. Arthur Bramhall, the actual author, attempts to find another story after the loss of this one.
Hal Jam (the nom de plume of the bear who steals the book) struggles to be become a person during his publicity tour, while Arthur Bramhall (the actual author of the book) faces challenges of his own. Hal's simple sentences...more
Stitchywoman
I really didn't care for this book. It started off amusing but really went downhill for me. If this is supposed to be a modern fairytale then the only conclusion I can make from it is that crime pays. The author does not appear to think much of the publishing/entertainment industry, politics, or women. Come to think of it, he doesn't seem to think much of humanity as a whole. The women in this book are two dimensional and self-serving and the men neurotic and stupid. He seems to feel that the on...more
Scott
I was kind of surprised that Kotzwinkle cribbed so much from Kosinski's "Being There." And then I looked up that book, and apparently Kosinki was accused of plagiarism regarding "Being There." So I guess it cancels out. In any case, the book was fairly entertaining but not exactly revelatory.
Deb
In this completely ridiculous novel, a bear finds a manuscript in a briefcase and goes to New York to get it published. No one he deals with - agents, editors, hoteliers, lovers - sees that he is a bear. Instead, they see him as an eccentric genius, and because he is a "man" of few words, they dub him the new Hemingway.

I'll rate this book A for enjoyment, because it is laugh-out-loud hilarious throughout. Heavy it is not. It hardly seems a novel at all, more like an extended joke, as one of the...more
Michael
I LOVED this book. It's kind of a fable about writers, editors, and all the pretentiousness in the world of writing and selling. A big ol' bear finds a reclusive author's manuscript hidden under a tree. The bear (who manages to figure out what it is) steals a man's suit from a clothesline and heads off to NYC. The ms is a hit and soon the bear is famous. He only grunts a few words at cocktail parties, but people make what they want of his "wisdom," which is mostly about honey, food, and his hate...more
Shazza Maddog
This story is marketed as a fable for adults. It's also marketed as a darkly humorous story, poking fun at the world of novelists and publishing.

At heart, it's a story of Hal Jam, a bear, who stole a manuscript, and becomes, to all extents and purposes, the writer of an amazing, ground-breaking piece of fiction. He is compared to Hemingway, and is the darling of the media and the publishing world. It is a story of a bear, trying to cope with the human world (and never being realized as a bear,...more
Sterlingcindysu
Cute and fluffy. (copied review) You might think that a writer best-known for novelizing the movie "E.T." would find a satire on the book publishing industry hitting a bit close to home, but William Kotzwinkle seems quite comfortable with the task in this comic fable. In Kotzwinkle's merry send-up, the author of the hit novel "Desire and Destiny" is a bear, a real bear, who after finding the manuscript under a spruce tree and attaching his nom de plume, Hal Jam, becomes rich and famous overnight...more
Karen Chase
I've never read a book that was so eloquently written, had great plot and character development, that also made me spit whatever I was drinking straight out my nose. One of the funniest books I've ever read. Now having been on the inside of publishing business a little, parts that made me laugh sometimes make me cry. A wonderful story about a bear who finds an abandoned manuscript and becomes a hit with it in NYC–all told from the perspective of the bear.


Technique: 5 out of 5 stars
Cleaver, smart...more
Ami Stearns
Oh my god, this was absolutely hilarious. Told in a straight-faced narrative, a BEAR finds a manuscript under a tree, passes it off as his own writing, and hits the publishing world like a rocket. Loved it!
Paul Russell
Funniest Read I've Had In Ages!

Written by the author of E.T.- The Extraterrestrial, The Bear Went Over The Mountain is a witty, sharp, damning indictment on fame as a Maine bear searching for food discovers a manuscript, takes it to NYC, becomes a world famous published author, gets a Hollywood agent, unknowingly stops an assassination plus more... and no one realizes, he's a bear. LOVED IT!
Andrew Lawston
One of the single greatest books I've ever read. The literary adventures of the mild-mannered and slightly confused Hal Jam make for a wonderful modern fairytale.
K.T.
This has been, for years, one of my all time favorite reads. I remember, on first read, being drawn in by the vast layers of humor sprinkled throughout it. A wonderful parody of the day's popular culture that constantly made me smile. On second read, I was struck by the underlying question that ran through the story: what is it, exactly, that separates man from animal? How far can one regress? How far can one progress? How long before the lines start blurring?

Kotzwinkle's distinctive writing sty...more
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William Kotzwinkle is a two-time recipient of the National Magazine Award for Fiction, a winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Prix Litteraire des Bouquinistes des Quais de Paris, the PETA Award for Children's Books, and a Book Critics Circle award nominee. His work has been translated into dozens of languages.
More about William Kotzwinkle...
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