Bear

Publisher: Emblem Editions

The winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, Marian Engel’s most famous – and most controversial – novel tells the unforgettable story of a woman transformed by a primal, erotic relationship. Lou is a lonely librarian who spends her days in the dusty archives of the Historical Institute. When an unusual field assignment comes her way, she jumps at the chance to travel to a remote island in northern Ontario, where she will spend the summer cataloguing a library that belonged to an eccentric nineteenth-century colonel. Eager to investigate the estate’s curious history, she is shocked to discover that the island has one other inhabitant: a bear. Lou’s imagination is soon overtaken by the island’s past occupants, whose deep fascination with bears gradually becomes her own. Irresistibly, Lou is led along a path of emotional and sexual self-awakening, as she explores the limits of her own animal nature. What she discovers will change her life forever. As provocative and powerful now as when it was first published. Includes a reading group guide.




From the Hardcover edition.

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1  In the winter, she lived like a mole, buried deep in her office, digging among maps and manuscripts. She lived close to her work and shopped on the way between her apartment and the Institute, scurrying hastily through the tube of winter from refuge to refuge, wasting no time. She did not like cold air...
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PRAISE FOR

“The best Canadian novel of all time. . . . Engel’s prose turns swiftly from the comic to lyric and back again. . . . In part for its extravagant strangeness, for the disruption it poses to [Canadian] tradition, Bear deserves to be celebrated.”
--National Post
 
“A strange and wonderful book, plausible as kitchens, but shapely as a folktale, and with the same disturbing resonance.”  
--Margaret Atwood
 
“Canada’s Lolita or Lady Chatterley’s Lover.”
--Globe and Mail
 
Bear works as simply and mysteriously as a folktale. It is a remarkable tour de force.”
--New York Times
 
“A startlingly alive narrative of the forbidden, the unthinkable, the hardly imaginable.”
--Washington Post
 
“At once insightful and mysterious. . . . Bear is brave. We should be too.”
--Andrew Pyper
 
“It’s a modern Canadian fable . . . and, above all, totally readable.”
--Hazlitt Magazine
 
“An astounding novel, both earthy and mythical, which leads into the human self and also outward to suggest and celebrate the mystery of life itself.”
 --Margaret Laurence, author of The Stone Angel
 
“A riveting story . . . brilliant and moving.”
Publishers Weekly


From the Hardcover edition.