The Bear

A Novel

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. . . . It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws.

Told from the point of view of a six-year-old child, The Bear is the story of Anna and her little brother, Stick--two young children forced to fend for themselves in Algonquin Park after a black bear attacks their parents. A gripping and mesmerizing exploration of the child psyche, this is a survival story unlike any other, one that asks what it takes to survive in the wilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.


I can hear the air going in and out of my brother’s nose. I am awake. He is two years old and almost three and he bugs me lots of times because I am five years old and soon I will be six but it is warm sleeping next to him. I call him Stick. He always falls asleep before me and I listen to the air of his nose. I...

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1. How did you react to reading an entire book from the perspective of a five-year-old? Did you like Anna’s voice? Did it take some time for you to connect and/or relate to the differences in syntax?

2. One of the challenges an author takes on by using a young child as narrator is that their vocabulary is...

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National Bestseller

"The Bear had me up all night, and when I finally put it down I knew that I wouldn't  forget Anna and her little brother Stick for a long time. Claire Cameron is an absolute master in letting us feel grief and loss by never using those words. The ending is very moving and offers us real consolation at the same time."
-- Herman Koch, author of The Dinner

"A masterful balancing act of suspense and relief. . . . A bravura performance."
—The Globe and Mail 

“Extraordinary.... Stylistically impressive and deeply moving.”
—Glamour (UK)

“Cameron’s resonant plot and Anna’s unforgettable voice add up to a novel destined to stay with you long after you’ve chewed through it.”
The Globe and Mail

“This expertly crafted novel could do for camping what Jaws did for swimming. . . . A gripping survival thriller.”
“Anna’s a character who stays with you long after you’ve put the book down. . . . This is a thrilling and utterly captivating tale.”
“A gripping, affecting story that reads like a hybrid of Henry James’s What Maisie Knew and Margaret Atwood’s Survival. . . . It serves as a reminder that the quest for survival doesn’t end with rescue––and that children are not alone in venturing into terrain far more treacherous than they can ever know.”

“Claire Cameron manages to create something both quintessentially Canadian and breathtakingly fresh . . . terrifying, beautiful and thrilling.”

"A beautiful novel that is ultimately about maternal love…. It made me cry and I couldn't stop."
—Miriam Toews

“What makes Claire Cameron’s The Bear so remarkable and riveting is that this story of two siblings lost in the woods is told from the child’s point of view. . . . It is also, of course, Anna’s naïveté that makes The Bear such a harrowing read.”
Edmonton Journal

“Cameron does a masterful job of capturing Anna’s voice and inner world…. But the real beauty in this novel, despite the absence of the children’s parents, is its depiction of parental love.”
—Calgary Herald

The Bear is a gut-wrenching story that will keep you reading to find out what happens to the children. The story is also quite touching to see how the siblings take care of each other when things get tough despite their disagreements. . . . Readers will want to finish The Bear well before camping season begins, unless you enjoy reading a spooky tale around the fire.”
The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo)

“An emotional tour de force.  The Bear offers us an unforgettable child narrator who propels us through a story as unsettling as it is bone-chilling, and as suspenseful as it is moving.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The End of Everything

A harrowing and endlessly hopeful novel…. [Cameron’s] assured evocation of soon-to-be-six-year-old Anna hits all the right notes. We witness the unfolding of events through Anna’s eyes while simultaneously watching over her small shoulder, hearts in our mouths.“
—Alissa York, author of Fauna

The Bear faultlessly captures the wonder, bewilderment, fear and self-centeredness of five-year-old Anna, and beautifully balances the darkness of her tale with a hopeful, sensitively told back story and moments when she grasps her situation with just enough clarity to shoulder her burden.”
—Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls

A taut and touching story of how a child's love and denial become survival skills.”
—Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

"Harrowing suspense. The Bear is a survival thriller that is told from a child's-eye point-of-view, which is not only convincing but doubles the tension.  A heartbreaking, white-knuckle read."
—Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist

“Thrilling and harrowing. . . . I couldn’t put this book down. And I must say that the ending was so right, I caught myself holding my breath. A remarkable novel.”
—Anthony De Sa, author of Kicking the Sky

“Claire Cameron plunges us in to the dark terrors of the wilderness. The Bear is a survival story that is heart-pounding and moving.”
—Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things

“The concerns of the young narrator—being good, remaining brave when her parents and her teddy bear are now gone, how annoying her brother is—are an engaging, focused lens through which to view events in the novel…This is a fast, compelling read for nature lovers.”
Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Harrowing.… There’s touchingly voiced courageousness here.… From the conception to the execution, the book is an exploration of anguish from a child’s point of view.”