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The Bear

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  3,660 ratings  ·  811 reviews
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
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Bellevue Literary Press
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Debra Weller Well, there is a similar tone, yet I find this story to be more about resilience and love.

The road is more devastating in its focus on destruction an…more
Well, there is a similar tone, yet I find this story to be more about resilience and love.

The road is more devastating in its focus on destruction and man's inhumanity to man.

(less)
Lynne Brookfield The writing in THE BEAR is so spare, eloquent, beautiful and carefully crafted, I cannot bring myself to finish it.

What is your question about the bo…more
The writing in THE BEAR is so spare, eloquent, beautiful and carefully crafted, I cannot bring myself to finish it.

What is your question about the book? (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,660 ratings  ·  811 reviews


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Angela M
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 beautif
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Karen
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story!
A young girl and her father are the last remaining humans.
They live in a post apocalyptic world in the shadow of a lone mountain..where nature is full of animals and vegetation.
The father teaches the daughter how to make hunting tools and how to hunt.. how to make clothing and food. He tells her the the secrets of the seasons and the stars and tells her stories about her mother who passed soon after the girls birth.
After some years pass, the girl is alone in an unknown lands
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Diane S ☔
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
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 ...more
Fran
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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" t
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Elyse  Walters
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had resistance to reading this book....but .....
so much for that.

I appreciated many of the same things other readers did...
the experience & vivid images - the messages - insights - the storytelling adult-fairytale
feeling.
The first half of the book was more engaging to me than the second half.

My question is this - if civilization has basically collapsed as we know it and everyone’s going to die- leaving no human beings left to reproduce- what’s the point?
I honestly don’t know.
I’m sure I’m t
...more
Cheri
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
!! NOW AVAILABLE !!

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
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Jen
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The beauty of this story is in its simplicity.
It’s the end of civilization. Only a daughter and father exist and are the last survivors in the world.
They live on a mountain and the father prepares her for adulthood and the survival skills required.
Once she finds she is alone however, a bear leads her back.
So harmonious is this story. Beautiful, eloquent. It’s about listening to nature and the beauty and fullness that can transpire. The spirit in the animals and nature and the symbiotic relations
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Jenna
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Bear is a beautifully rendered novel about a young girl and her father who are the last humans on earth. The prose is stark and yet exquisite. It reads at times like a fairy tale. 

Though not a whole lot happens, I was mesmerized.  Unfortunately, because the young girl and her father (reminiscent of The Road, they are never named) live in a time after modern civilization collapsed, this meant they had to provide for themselves -- there was a lot of hunting and all that it entails. As an all-a
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Marialyce
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
The world as we know it, has ended and there are two people still populating the planet, a father and his daughter. The father is preparing his daughter for his inevitable end and as they are visiting a mountain that shadows their home, a place where the wife is buried, we share in the conversations between father and daughter. However, tragedy strikes and brings about the death of the father.

The father has prepared his child, teaching her the ways of the land, ethereal in its beauty. He instru
...more
Carol
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 ocea

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Jonetta
It’s rare for me to not be able to summarize the description of a story in my own words but I’ve given it two days and just cannot do more justice to that provided with the book so here it is.

“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 p
...more
Caroline
***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 abou
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Dianne
Winning little fable about a father and daughter that live in isolation in a mountainous wooded area. It’s implied that they are the last two humans left on earth. Aside from some artifacts passed down from their forbears, the father and daughter live off the land and fashion their own hunting tools. The father recounts stories to the daughter that instill in her a respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all living things. He teaches her the skills she will need to survive when, inevita ...more
Nancy
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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 a
...more
Michelle
I had to step away for a moment before I could write this because I was feeling very emotional trying to gather my thoughts together. This book will mean something different to everyone, but the many themes that were explored were very touching.

I enjoyed this so much and wish in a way that there could have been more of it. I was never bored and I find myself struggling to write a review that doesn't give anything away about the story. While this could be a post apocalyptic setting, the uncertai
...more
Sarah
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
The Bear is a literary science fiction/fantasy tale about the last two people on earth.  It's short, and can be read in just a day if you have the time.  The two main characters are known only as Father and Girl.  When the story begins the girl is very young, and we watch as her father teaches her to survive the world.

The depictions of nature and scenery are beautifully done.  It's hard to imagine a world in which everything is covered by forests and fields, the remnants of residential areas gro
...more
Lisa
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Lovely nature descriptions but this novel was not for me. A ponderous, folksy tale about a girl/woman who survives in the wilderness with the help of her wise animal friends.
Donna
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most serene post-apocalyptic books I’ve ever read, one detailing harmony with nature and acceptance of the world as it has become, including the resulting isolation. The story is one part realism and one part myth, told in a way that’s reminiscent of traditional oral storytelling, with an unexpected shift in who’s doing the telling.

It begins with a father and daughter living in a remote wilderness setting, the two of them the last humans alive on earth. The man’s wife died no
...more
Jill
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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;
...more
Patty Smith
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 w
...more
Suzanne thebookblondie
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Bear by Andrew Krivak (#12 in 2020)

There are no names, there is no specific setting, there is no time period, and there are no quotation marks, but The Bear absolutely blew me away.

In most post-apocalypic plots, the environment is futuristic and technology-based with characters who have trouble surviving without their modern and futuristic conveniences. There are no modern conveniences, and I honestly didn't get the impression that this was a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic story. Instead of telling
...more
Julie Christine
Written in reverent, hushed tones that echo like voices in an empty cathedral, The Bear is a tale of the last two humans on earth.

An unexplained catastrophe has ended the dominion of human, and the earth has reverted to the quiet brutality of weather and seasons and creatures. A father and daughter grow older in their stronghold beneath The Bear, the eponymous mountain of the title, the man teaching the girl survival skills and an appreciation of the poetry of Wendell Berry from the few books t
...more
Justine
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-read, novella
An interesting literary work written in the style of a myth or fable. It is more of an introspective and thoughtful piece rather than having a specific plot.

The writing was not as smooth and interesting as I would have liked in this kind of story. Some of the sentences read a bit awkwardly and did not convey meaning and imagery in quite the polished way I had hoped. Still, I'm glad I read it, and I did find it thought provoking.

The trees are the great and true keepers of the forest, he said, an
...more
Susan's Reviews
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Andrew Krivak has a gift for describing Nature. The Bear tells the story of the last humans on earth. Loss and loneliness are just a fragment of what you will feel as you read about the father and daughter's journey together, then her life alone, when he too is gone. As she grieves for her father, a bear, which they had seen earlier on their travels, reappears and speaks to her, encoura
...more
Lori Keeton

The last two were a girl and her father who lived on the old eastern range on the side of a mountain they called the mountain that stands alone.

Andrew Krivak’s The Bear starts with the end of humanity. This simple yet poignant tale takes the reader to a place where only two humans remain. The place where they live is idyllic and serene unlike most post-apocalyptic novels such as The Road and Station Eleven that evoke a darkness and fear. This world Krivak creates is peaceful and reminds me of wh
...more
Kathleen
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"AND YET NO MATTER HOW LONG WINTER LASTED, spring followed, its arrival soft and somehow surprising, like the notes of birdsong upon waking, or the tap of water slipping in a droplet from a branch to the ground. As the snow melted, black rocks, gray lichen, and brown leaf cover emerged from the once-uniform palette of the forest floor, and the thin silvery outlines of trees began to brighten with leaves of green against the groupings of hemlock and pine. Those were the days when the girl left th ...more
Maxwell
[3.5 stars]

The Bear reads like a fable, or perhaps more like a story handed down through oral tradition, told around the campfires of the earliest settlers of this land, or any land. Except, the novel tells the story of the last two people on earth: The Girl and her Father. They are never named, and in a way it reminded me of The Road. It is a much less daunting, harrowing story than that, though it still explores grief and has an overall melancholy tone. The story is one of loss and survival,
...more
Msty
Feb 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
50% : 5 stars!! Love this.
60% : 4 stars. A little lull.
75% : 3 stars. Yawn. How long is this book?
90% : can I dnf this close to the end!?
95% : should have dnfd.
Finished: 1 star. Don't read this.

I was so in love with this at the start. It was a beautiful story about loss and survival with magical elements! And then somehow it turned onto the longest, most boring thing I've ever read.

The last quarter of this book :
*slight spoilers*
girl hunting, eating, being cold, hunting, tanning hides, being
...more
Brenda
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was interesting, provided some philosophical questions to ponder, and was very different from my usual genre. It was a short, quick read.
Lata
Interesting, with quiet, thoughtful prose. Fable-like, with its talking animals, and though I liked the writing, I was not affected.
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The grandson of Slovak immigrants, Andrew Krivak grew up in Pennsylvania, has lived in London, and has taught at Harvard, Boston College, and the College of the Holy Cross. He lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

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“But we don't get to choose when we leave here to sleep on the mountain. We all have to sleep on the mountain one day. Even the bear. Even when we struggle with all our will not to.” 6 likes
“But I miss whom I once could touch, as all must do when we make our way through whatever forest or wood it is in which we travel or are raised. This does not mean the man is lost or has disappeared forever. For although he no longer walks beside you, he still remains in the time and place of memory and this is where he will appear again and again, as often as you will seek him. Not only in those places where he has always been but where he could not be then yet will be now.” 5 likes
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