Cover Image: The Bear

The Bear

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Member Reviews

This book was very unique and the prose was certainly beautiful. The first half was wonderful, and I found myself connecting with the characters and invested in their story. Admittedly, the second half is not as strong and there was something off about the pacing. Still beautiful though, and I look forward to seeing what Krivak writes next!
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🐻 Thanks @librofm @netgalley for the gifted copies of The Bear by Andrew Krivak! This book was beautiful, strange, and moving. I'm not sure I understood all of it but I still loved it. -- ♡ M

THE BEAR | KRIVAK

SYNOPSIS: 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 daughter how to fish and hunt and 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 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.

#deweyrating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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The writing, the imagery, the overall story - this was a beautiful book filled with important topics. Would definitely recommend.
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I apologize to NetGalley and the author, but I could not finish this book. There were no quotations, which was horribly confusing. The writing was so simple and dull that I thought I was reading a children’s book.
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This was a very interesting novel and I really didn’t know what it was about when I requested it. The cover really caught my eye and once I started reading it I fell in love with the atmosphere. This book is loosely based off of a fable and I could see the parallel a little bit. For the most part though I feel as if it was its own story altogether. I will definitely look forward to anything else that he writes because it was interesting all the way through to the end and it kept my attention.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgally for review purposes.


This was a tough one for me to review. There were a couple times where I almost didn't finish it and gave up. I kept picking up other books with stronger plots that kept me glued and then sadly forgetting about this.

The writing is beautiful. It has a strong fairy tale charm to it that really kept me with it where I otherwise would've given up. Unfortunately there was a slew of detailed animal violence that would lose me often and then I'd forget about the book after needing a break from it.

When the main character wasn't slaughtering things and their young it was a quaint, almost romanticly written little story...but at the end of the day I just didn't get it. It felt like there was no point. Almost a 'why?' which isn't great to me for reading. There wasn't really a plot so it's easy to not continue.

So while it had its strong points overall it just really wasn't for me.
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In a post-apocalyptic world, a young girl and her father live in an idyllic mountainous world. They possess few remnants of civilization: a few moldering books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. 

Though he mourns the passing of his wife, the father teaches his daughter to hunt and fish, to make tools, to use every part of any animal they kill. He teaches her all the tools and skills that   would be required of the last two people on Earth. 

He is teaching her to respect the natural world around them. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. They drink pine and nettle tea and gather nuts and berries. The nuisance plants we try to kill becomes their salad.

When they run out of salt, the man and girl journey to the ocean to make more. On the way, the father is injured by a wild animal, and the girl is forced to cope alone as winter approaches. Luckily, a wise bear, who can talk, is willing to act as her guide and lead her home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen. 

The Bear takes a different slant on post-apocalypse fiction. Instead of hard science fiction or zombie horror, the author uses a softer, more ecological treatment. Not only do the humans live off the land, but the talking animals seem both magical and real. And so do the trees, which also communicate with the last of humankind. 

Much of the story reads like a folk tale, and there are no named characters, simply the man, the girl, and the bear. The Bear is a parable of sorts, about the last people on earth, and the world and creatures they learn to live with and love. It’s a survival story as well. Think of Jack London, or maybe Cormac McCarthy. But the “human vs nature” story is a much more integrated tale of self-sufficiency, survival, and natural wonders, one that would be suitable for younger readers. While the book describes the last of the human race, it doesn’t feel hopeless. On the contrary, there is a permanence that lasts long after I’d turned the last page. 

Hauntingly beautiful, elegantly simple, visually rich. This is a story that gave me a strange sense of peace and a feeling of oneness with the natural world. I now look around my own yard, my neighborhood, and understand more the plenty that surrounds me. Not just the fruit trees, but also the pine needles we rake and toss, the maples and oaks, with their seed pods and nuts. They all have offerings for humans. They all have worth. We’ve just forgotten to see it. 

The sparse but gorgeous style of Krivak’s writing, his story of survival and death, the love and respect shown by his characters, are stunning tributes to nature’s dominion.  It’s a beautiful read, and a true life examination of humankind’s co-existence with our fragile environment. 
I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an unbiased and fair review.
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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, inevitably, she will be alone.

One day they venture forth from their mountain home to journey to the ocean, so they can harvest the salt needed to preserve their meat. The father has made several trips in the past, but it is the first time for the twelve year old daughter. The trip proves to be a life-altering one and the daughter must call upon on all her resources to find her way home.

Nicely done. I recommend this to nature lovers and/or those who enjoy dystopian or metaphysical fiction.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bellevue Literary Press for an ARC of this novel. My review, however, is based on the hard copy version.
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The Bear by Andrew Krivak is a post-apocalyptic survival tale about a father in daughter in the deep wilderness on it's face, but in actuality a thoughtful, sentimental tale about communing with nature, solitude, and the fragility of human existence. We meet "the girl" in late childhood as "the man," her father, teaches her all she will need to survive alone on their mountain home.

What I loved the most of Krivak's novel is the mood his writing evokes; I had the calming feeling of sitting alone in the woods watching nature for hours on end, even in the sections where nature truly shows it's brutal side. There is never much in the way of revelations; the reader never learns what happened to civilization or if other people exist. The focus is solely on this tiny human family and the natural world that surrounds them, allowing them to survive if they have the right skills, and that seems perfect for this novel. 

Overall, an enjoyable short read that I think would be just right for relaxing in a wooded back yard, or to bring along on a camping trip.
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I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A sparse, slow, but beautifully written book about a father and his daughter, the last 2 people left on Earth, and then about when the girl is left as the last humanity. [author:Andrew Krivak|509654] never gives the cause of what ended humanity, just vague conversations from father to daughter insinuating that it happened possibly before his time or when he was younger. But this is a book where that doesn't matter. What also doesn't matter is that the characters names, their location, or even time in history are unknown. We're not even given that much insight in what the characters are thinking. 

Instead, we focus on the vast but slightly claustrophobic world inhabited by the main characters. The first few years of the girl's life involve just the immediate vicinity of their house. Every one of the girl's birthdays signifies an increase in the area explored and an increase in tools needed to survive. One birthday she's brought up to the mountain where her mother is buried. Another birthday she's gifted a bow and arrows made by her father. Her father's final months involve taking her to the sea so she can learn how to obtain salt to help cure and preserve food. A  mishap on the way leads to his eventual death and a host of new challenges for the girl. She's still young, but she needs to be able to survive on her own with everything her father has taught her over the years. She needs to bring her father's ashes and bones back so he can be buried with her mother. But she also needs to get back before winter makes the mountain passes impassable, or she needs to figure out how to survive the winter in unknown areas without all her tools needed to survive - all while still mourning the only person she has ever known.

Beyond that, this is the story of the reclamation of nature by plants and animals. The father tells the daughter tales of animals that are similar to Native American myths, about how pumas and bears came to the aid of people when called. How interconnected humans used to be with nature before they stopped listening. But being the last two people or last person in existence means that the bonds between humanity and animals could be reforged. 

Even though it is being marketed as such, I'd hesitate to call this post-apocalyptic fiction. This post-apocalyptic world is almost a utopia for the inhabitants. It's more about the relationship between humans and the environment, understanding and appreciating that almost everything we need to survive is provided for us if we only know how to use it (and had the time to do it). Deer sinew can be used as bow string, but I'd have no clue where to even start with that project.

If I hadn't read the blurb, I'd have assumed this was along the same vain as the movie Leave No Trace or Captain Fantastic, about a parent choosing to live off the grid away from the bustling often-cruel ways of society. There is a point in the novel where it's obviously apparent that is not the case, and the animals help confirm the "post-apocalyptic" nature of the story. However, the role the animals play in the story when that happens bends the story into something more akin to magical realism. It's an example of literary fiction that defies categorization.

While it is beautifully written, I do think that someone reading this book does need to be committed. There were a few times where I started to lost patience and my interest started to wane. The book is not driven by plot, but it isn't necessarily driven by character either. If someone wants a book they can burn through, this is not the book to read. It needs to be savored, slowly, patiently, and the reader has to know when to stop reading it and when to go back to it.
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This book was just alright. There wasn't really anything extra special about this book. I was really into the book at the beginning but then it just seemed to drag on. The concept is such a great idea but there just wasn't a whole lot going on in the story. 

Also, I am not a fan of books that don't use quotes when characters talk. I understand that it is probably an artistic choice but it really takes me out of the story and confuses me.
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Looking for a moving tale about a father and daughter - the last humans on Earth? Pick up The Bear by Andrew Krivak. In this time of self-isolation, this book has some lessons to teach us. 

If Disney movies like The Good Dinosaur were ever written in words, the writing would be exactly like The Bear. A beautiful story about parent relationships, growing up and adapting to the world, The Bear by Andrew Krivak is a heart warming tale about one girl’s journey to get back home. 

Focused on the characters, the girl, her father, and the bear, this book transported me to the setting in the wilderness where it takes place. With the characters, I saw the phases of moon, the deserted city, the breath-taking ocean, while at the same time, I felt their emotions. The Bear conveyed sentiments that move us when we are watching movies. The depiction of pain, loss, love and happiness are deep and true.

The world as we know it has ended but who cares how that end came to be? In the girl’s life, it is only her father. And though they live with the animals, they are each other’s true companions. The things that the father teaches the girl are practical, setting her up for success in the future. Andrew Krivak paints a vibrant forest, turbulent rivers and wise bears eloquently in words.

I loved the wisdom and companionship that the bear offered to the girl in the times when she needed a friend. The bear has lived many years and while in sleep he finds calmness, he also know the value of the waking hour.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me a review copy through NetGalley.
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This story reminds me a lot of Indian folklore tales, which are often written or told using spirit guides as major characters. These stories often have subtle hidden messaging. This definitely has that vibe. Written from the perspective of a young girl who grows up in the shadow of a mountain with her father as her only companion and provider. In a world where they are all alone, the last of the human race. On a cross country venture for supplies her father becomes deathly ill, and upon his death, the girl finds herself in the company of a large brown bear, able to share the same language, the bear looks over the young girl and protects her as she vows to journey home. Nurtured and protected by what nature provides for her, the girl blossoms and becomes one with her environment, able to use the voices of the forest as a kind of sixth sense. This is a bittersweet tale, since this girl is so tuned in with nature, it provides a certain model for all of us to attain a harmony with nature and all the creatures she provides, but there is a certain sadness too since all the people are gone and the girl is  without any human companionship. She is never truly alone though, as her forest friends are always looking out for her. The last chapter brought tears to my eyes. A wonderful short story. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy.
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The Bear is an incredibly understated coming of age tale that explores the last girl on earth's formative years with her father and with nature. Taking place generations after the fall of civilization, The Bear circumvents the traditional disaster-fueled crumbling of civilization and instead, crafts a beautiful, chilling message: humanity is not essential.
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According to the blurb, The Bear by Andrew Krivak is a fable. I have no idea whether this is correct. I struggle with understanding fables and allegories and parables, so if there is a lesson to learn through this story, it is not one I bothered to decipher.

Even though I may have completely missed the point of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bear. It is simply a lovely story. The writing is gorgeous. The descriptions are beautiful and make this modern gal long for a simpler way of life. Even though it describes the actions and adventures of the last people on Earth, there is nothing melancholic or disturbing about it. Rather, I like it to a commune with nature – peaceful, honest, simple. Lovely.

To be fair, I read this fable about the last two people on Earth before the Covid-19 panic started here in the United States. Still, I think that one could even enjoy it while stuck at home either through self-isolation of state-mandated “stay in place” edicts. So much of The Bear is about coping and making the best of a truly shitty situation. Need I say more?
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The Bear by Andrew Krivak is a post-apocalyptic book with no names, a setup that gives it a  philosophical tone. The stated theme running throughout the cycle of life and the love and loss that it brings. The unstated underlying theme is living in harmony with nature. A world in which only two humans exist comes across not as sad and desolate but lush and protective and abundant with life.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2020/03/the-bear.html 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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It’s amazing how much things can change in a month- a week, a day, an hour, really. Last month, I heard that it was not a matter of if the Coronavirus was coming to the US, it was a matter of when. Now here I am, off of work for the foreseeable future. Who could have predicted that?

Times like these illuminate the gap between the rich and poor of our communities. I’m off work for a minimum of four weeks, paid. I have health insurance. I have a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry. I have loads of books, internet access, and live in an area where I can walk to one of the Great Lakes. Most importantly, I live near family which provides comfort.

Today I read, The Bear by Andrew Krivak and it was perfect. It was so connected to nature and just the sort of slow burn, cozy read I was craving. It tells the tale of a daughter and her father, living in a cabin, at a time when they are the only two people left on earth. The girl’s mother died shortly after her birth and throughout the book, the man teaches his daughter how to live in harmony with the natural world. The Bear is an exploration of our connection with nature and with one another.

"By calling the novel The Bear, I am suggesting that there is hope all around us, if we step back and see ourselves as part of—not the center of—a larger, ever more beautiful and animate world. I hope readers will see and hold on to both the beauty and the struggle. Look around. There is struggle everywhere. But there is also beauty."

How will you stay connected during social distancing? What choices have you made to alter your typical routines? What are you doing to help your neighbor? I wish  you all safety and health.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this. I will be posting a full review to Goodreads, Amazon, and Instagram.
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I received a reviewer copy of The Bear by Andrew Krivak from the publisher Bellevue Literary Press from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What It’s About: A girl and her father are the last two humans on Earth and are looking for home and comfort.

What I Loved: The nature writing is quite good. It also gave me flashbacks to the Island of Blue Dolphins but in the mountains which was kind of fun. 

What I didn’t like so much: This book is more about detail and metaphor and other literary elements that are sometimes hard to connect with and follow. If you like books deep in plot and character development, this isn't for you. But if you like place and setting probably more up your alley. 

Who Should Read It: People who like nature writing. People who look fables and metaphor. People who might like Island of the Blue Dolphins but less action driven. 

General Summary: A story of being the only humans left while surviving in the wild.
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I really did not connect with this novel. It was not the writing, as the writing is well done. I felt like the plot was stagnant, as were the characters. I did finish the novel, but it panned out as expected, affirming my opinion of the stagnant plot..
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