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The Bear

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  178 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
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Bellevue Literary Press
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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…more
The writing in THE BEAR is so spare, eloquent, beautiful and carefully crafted, I cannot bring myself to finish it.

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  266 ratings  ·  178 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
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
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 ...more
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"
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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


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
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 survivingwithouttheir 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
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,
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;
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
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Lins
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
“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
switterbug (Betsey)
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Laura Ungureanu
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Oh, come on. Such a beautiful cover, but the content? The plot had everything for an unforgettable reading experience, but nothing happened. Let's start with the good things.
-Interesting premise. A girl and her father are the only two humans left. It's a great thing to start from. Catchy.
-Short and fast. Because of its fable nature, this book is a quick read. The writing is also flowing.
-Human and nature. Humans are left to survive in this harsh environment. They learn how to hunt, how to make
Feb 11, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
DNF @ 74%. I was with it until The Bear came into the story, and then I tried to listen further. But my mind wouldn't stop wandering. Normally if I make it this far through a book, I push thru. And I tried with everything in me, but I just couldn't keep going.

I chose this because the unnamed man and his daughter have ties to nature, being the last two people left on earth. They depend so heavily on what they could hunt or find. The scenes with the man and his daughter up on the mountain are
Laura Hart
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful way to end the year. Moving portrait of the relationship between humanity and nature. A must read.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: The Bear
Author: Andrew Krivak
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Review Date: August 7, 2019

I 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
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

ANREW 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,
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
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
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2020
***Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review***

Trigger warnings for death, animal death, blood.

This book is a lot. Overall, I really enjoyed it, though!

Bad things: These are just personal opinions, and I’m a highly opinionated person haha. For both of these, I understand the stylistic choices behind them, but I still didn’t like them. I wish we didn’t knew the characters names, and I wish the dialogue had quotation marks (even though this especially
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

A girl and her father are alone in the wilderness, perhaps the last of humankind. An accident occurs on their trek to the ocean for salt and the girl must find her way back alone. Alone, that is, save for the help of a talking bear.

I put this one off for longer than I should was a surprisingly great read. There is so much packed in this short book. It was a mix of dystopian and magical
Meghan (TheBookGoblin)
*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
May 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
”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
thank you to net galley for the advanced copy. all opinions are my own

I 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
Hope Reads
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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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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