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Louisa Meets Bear

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  92 reviews
When Louisa and Bear meet at Princeton in 1975, sparks fly. Louisa is the sexually adventurous daughter of a geneticist, Bear the volatile son of a plumber. They dive headfirst into a passionate affair that will alter the course of their lives, changing how they define themselves in the years and relationships that follow.

Reading "Louisa Meets Bear "is like assembling a ji
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Sarah Crichton Books
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  645 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm such a sucker for novels-told-as-interrelated-short-stories (loved Jennifer Egan's "Visit from the Goon Squad," and Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" is one of my all-time favorite books) that I downloaded this without even finishing the Kindle sample. While it was fun trying to figure out where each protag fit into the overall tapestry, something about the stories themselves and the work as a whole left me underwhelmed. I'm definitely not a reader who needs the main characters to be lik ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lisa Gornick has a great deal of insight into the human heart, no surprise since she’s a psychoanalyst by trade. Take this: “Your mother,” one character says, “lived like an egg sliding over a Teflon pan.” In just a few aptly chosen words, we get a blazing insight into the character.

The book could be described as a hybrid: not really an integrated novel, but also not a short story collection. Each of the stories is linked to the others, not unlike, say, Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists.

In the
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Written by a psychoanalyst, this collection of interconnected short stories all feature characters connected to the couple featured in the title story -- family members, friends, lovers, etc. We see how the consequences of one relationship affect others in a ripple effect. Moving sequentially (although sometimes the next story skips back to before the previous story ended), these stories are more conventional and easier to follow than, say, A Visit from the Goon Squad, but appeal to a similar au ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
At the very beginning, it seemed promising, with some lovely writing. Before long, I found the sentence structures annoyingly convoluted and lengthy. I was tolerating that because I was interested in the characters. Until I realized I wasn't. At some point, I faced the fact that I just didn't connect with them. At least, not enough of them. And man, were there a lot of them. The book was comprised of stories that were interwoven, with minor characters from one story rising to prominence in anoth ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Interconnected stories that didn't connect very well for me. ...more
Robert Blumenthal
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of interconnected short stories that could all stand on their own. There is no consistent narrative movement, but the stories are chronological spanning over 40 years. They revolve around Louisa and Bill, nicknamed Bear, and their assorted relatives, friends and acquaintances. The stories are all somewhat sparse and very reality based. They are about real humans going through their lives looking for meaning in their relationships with their spouses, children, parents and friends. ...more
Paola Piliado

For the first half of the book, I found the stories very compelling and beautiful. I lost most of the interest when the author started adding more characters and I couldn´t see why until well advanced the short story. I couldn't connect with them until the story was almost over. For the most part, the stories involving Louisa and Bear were the most interesting and finding out that the author is a psychoanalyst makes a lot of sense. I still enjoyed it but by the end, the rating went down for me.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: from-the-library
A collection of the common, complicated miseries of a default-life (marriage, children, etc.) resigned to fate. So depressing that this moment of active choice sparkled as I read it: there was a faint but already beating awareness that the moment had arrived when I could choose happiness and, amazingly, because nothing in my past would ever had predicted such a thing, I did.
Carly Thompson
I read about 75 pages before abandoning this. Some of the writing was lovely, but I just didn't care about the characters and couldn't get into it. ...more
Victoria Moss
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved it. Just finished and want to read it from cover to cover again. Fantastic story full of characters you care about and can't get enough of. ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Interconnected short stories with some more interesting and central to the loose story line than others.
Bill Hopkins
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I did not think I was going to like this. Too much sexually adventurous privileged college students. Then as the characters aged it got interesting.

This is a series of short stories with inter-connecting characters that take place over a 40 year period. It's kind of hard to keep all the connections straight. Many times I went back and read previous passages to remind myself who the characters were. At one point I even tried to make a chart. There was one story I am still not sure how i
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: angsty
So, each little individual story could have been it's own story and deserving.
Or maybe the whole book could have been only about Louisa and Bear and what happens to their lives as they intertwine with their future life's. As it was several times I got confused by all the people in the book and a little mad because I wanted to keep reading about Lousia and Bear. The other character that totally got me was Bear's wife. I learned along time ago that true love story's don't mean that they are toget
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Lovely writing in this collection of linked short stories, although something about the style didn't quite work for me. I had a recurring sense of looking through a dirty/smudged window and getting a taste of someone else's life without ever getting a full picture or complete slice of life. Overall 3 out of 5 ...more
Lynn Cornell
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book and liked half of it but not the rest of it?
I loved the first half of this book but not so much the last half. It became like a big jigsaw puzzle and I couldn’t keep the characters separated in my mind.
It is a quirky book full of interesting characters and I’m glad I read it.
Bess Conner
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very nice

I don’t know why I picked this up, I don’t usually read short stories but I very much enjoyed these. The interconnection was very interesting and I’m half tempted to reread it to see what I missed the first time. I enjoyed the wonderful fully developed characters and watching for hints as to how they were doing as the years went by.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Compelling, drew me in, but took me most of the book to truly understand the connection between the stories. Difficult to stop/start, as it makes it harder to follow the fragile interconnected threads. Would love to read more from Gornick, especially a short stories collection. I have a feeling that would be masterful work.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Some of the stories within the story kept my attention...some did not. I felt like I needed a synopsis of the characters right from the beginning so I could remember who they were further on. I kept hoping I would like it better so I read it right to the end.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the writing and the stories and most of the characters, but I really disliked Bear. He was shallow and cruel and borderline abusive. His appeal was more understandable when everyone was young, but once the characters transitioned into full adulthood it stopped making sense.
Susan Kinnevy
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed reading this novel, I found some of the story links a bit strained and I was really disappointed in the ending, which made it seem as though positive outcomes for characters were somehow reliant on a 1950's view of family -- hot chocolate, warm cookies, etc. ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Short stories are great. You can nibble on them one at a time or devour them in a single sitting. One of the differences in this collection is that they are all connected in some way. Some of the connections are more obvious than others.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I have to accept I don't care for short stories. They were good but I just can't get fully immersed and involved in them. Not her fault. ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Waste of time. Terrible characters, awful plot device.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Won’t be recommending this one.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very confusing book. Supposed to skip back and forth between generations I think but I just couldn't keep straight. ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Complex writing style, you have to reAd every word to process. Can't decide if 3 or 4 stars. The book is different. ...more
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After wowing us with Tinderbox and Private Sorcery, Lisa Gornick had given us Louisa Meets Bear, ten linked stories which can stand alone, each so firmly that they have won awards, such as Distinguished Short Story in Best American Short Story anthology.

Each is a story of passion. Luisa, daughter of a geneticist, meet Bear, a plumbers son, and they plunge (no pun intended) into a stormy affair that affects their choices for years. In other stories a daughter stabs her mother when she finds out t
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Brilliant ! A very clever and page-turning book.
Ann Herendeen
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-recently
Generous, Compassionate, Beautifully-Written Novel of Linked Stories

Lisa Gornick's third published novel, Louisa Meets Bear, is that trickiest of formats: a collection of "short" stories (some novella-length) that are linked through connections between some of the characters. Each episode can stand alone, but when strung together they form a larger whole--a novel. It takes very fine writing to pull this off, to overcome the reader's reluctance to let go at the end of one segment and plunge into
Jennifer Giacomozzi
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!! Had to go back to find some of the connections, which was really kind of interesting. I thought this book was so well written, thank you Lisa Gornick!
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Lisa Gornick has been hailed by NPR as “one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America…immensely talented and brave.” She is the author of 4 novels: TINDERBOX, LOUISA MEETS BEAR, and THE PEACOCK FEAST—all published by Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Picador; and A PRIVATE SORCERY, published by Algonquin. Her stories and essays have appeared widely, inc ...more

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“There was an inscription at the end in Latin. It’s translated in one of the guidebooks: What you are, we used to be. What we are, you will be. What do you think they meant?” Janey looked confused, torn, Ilana was sure, between her wish to have her mother explain and not wanting to admit her incomprehension to her sister. “It’s obvious,” Sarah said. “The bones were once people. Someday we’ll be just bones.” “I knew that.” “Liar,” 0 likes
“I’ve lost not only my vanity but my feeling of mind-body identity, so that I no longer believe, as you did about me, that elegance of form is elegance of being. I do my best to keep the numbers on the scale where I want them and my skin and hair well tended, but my body is now essentially the vehicle for carting around what I think of as my self. Not” 0 likes
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