by Julia Phillips
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Pub Date 25 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2024
An Oprah Daily, CNN, Publishers Weekly, and Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
“Thrilling and propulsive, glorious and terrifying. Julia Phillips is a brilliant writer.”—Ann Patchett
They were sisters and they would last past the end of time.
Sam and Elena dream of another life. On the island off the coast of Washington where they were born and raised, they and their mother struggle to survive. Sam works on the ferry that delivers wealthy mainlanders to their vacation homes while Elena bartends at the local golf club, but even together they can’t earn enough to get by, stirring their frustration about the limits that shape their existence.
Then one night on the boat, Sam spots a bear swimming the dark waters of the channel. Where is it going? What does it want? When the bear turns up by their home, Sam, terrified, is more convinced than ever that it’s time to leave the island. But Elena responds differently to the massive beast. Enchanted by its presence, she throws into doubt the desire to escape and puts their long-held dream in danger.
A story about the bonds of sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals that live among us—and within us—Bear is a propulsive, mythical, richly imagined novel from one of the most acclaimed young writers in America.
"Bear is a story of life on the margins—economically and geographically—of the American project, exploring the bonds of family and the warped relationship between humans and the natural world. There is something unsettling and uncanny about Julia Phillips’s wondrous second book, less a novel than a fairy tale for the strange times in which we live."
—Rumaan Alam, bestselling author of Leave the World Behind, finalist for the National Book Award
"Bear is a novel about a dark and difficult world suddenly illuminated by the presence of one unimaginable being. The story is thrilling and propulsive, glorious and terrifying. Julia Phillips is a brilliant writer. She has my complete attention."
"Bear is the brutal cage of the real world and the magical animal within. Julia Phillips has written a book of untamed, glorious, abundant interpretations."
—Megha Majumdar, bestselling author of A Burning
"Intense, moody, fierce, and relentlessly suspenseful, Bear is a modern-day fairy tale about the tenacious bonds and complexities of sisterhood. Readers will fall in love with these enchanting characters, as I did, and root for them to the breathtaking end."
—Angie Kim, bestselling author of Happiness Falls and Miracle Creek
"Julia Phillips’s rare and marvelous new novel weaves fairy-tale magic into a story of sisterhood, daughterhood, care, and devotion, while deftly illustrating the precarity of modern American life and the confines of social class. Building with quiet fury to its astonishing ending, Bear will capture your heart and mind. I read in a state of wonder."
—Jessamine Chan, bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers
"In this haunting fable of two sisters determined to steer their own destiny, Julia Phillips evokes the unsettling ways in which the wilder forces of the world around us will never allow us to tame them. I was spellbound."
—Julia Glass, bestselling author of Vigil Harbor and Three Junes, winner of the National Book Award
"The critically acclaimed author of Disappearing Earth returns with this modern-day fable of two sisters and the mysterious animal that arrives on their shores. Sam and Elena, living an impoverished and isolated life off the coast of Washington, dream of escape—until the appearance of a strange bear upends their plans. Mythical and enchanting, Philips’s second novel delves into sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals that live among—and within—us all."
—Oprah Daily (One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2024)
“Phillips once again tells a story of two sisters in a remote setting, this time on an island in the Pacific Northwest, where they encounter a strange creature in the woods.”
—Publishers Weekly (One of the 10 Most Anticipated Books of the New Year)
"Bear takes us to a wild, captivating place, just as Phillips did in her debut, Disappearing Earth."