Thank you to Bellvue Literary Press and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: death, grief, hunting.
Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
The Bear completely captivated me from beginning to end. Krivak introduces a world in which there is but one man and his daughter left on earth, both who remain unnamed throughout the story. The man, a widower, dotes on his daughter and teaches her everything he can about survival. At the tender age of five, she learns about what happened to her mother, and how her father expressed his grief. Then, as the young girl ages and learns to hunt, she starts to understand about death, grief, and survival.
At twelve, the girl and her father journey to the ocean on foot. As they journey through the wilderness, of which both are comfortable in, they come across the ruins of homesteads. Here, the girl’s father encounters something mysterious that changes not only the course of their journey, but the girl’s life entirely. Soon, the girl must find a way to survive and head home alone, taking with her only the knowledge she’s gained from her father and the aid of a lone bear.
Krivak mixes magical realism with dystopian to create this gorgeous, poetic prose reminiscent of Native American folklore. Without giving too much away, there is also such emotion and wisdom in the writing. I highlighted many passages, each thoughtful and observant. As a nature girl myself, the setting’s description and hunting narrations transported me into woods, feeling the senses of a hunter- the peeled eyes, the ears listening, the body fighting the elements. Krivak also gives life to a desolate, lonely place through the spirits of the animals, wind, and natural structures.
I will state that the writing, though beautiful to me, may be a bit slow paced and difficult to read for others. Krivak has made some unique stylistic choices, such as not using dialogue punctuation or proper names for the characters. However, this never took away from the narrative for me, so I didn’t consider it a negative in my reading experience.
Honestly, if you love folklore, hunting, nature, or a great story, you’ll want to grab a copy of this book.
Expected Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Bellvue Literary Press
TL/DR: The Bear by Andrew Krivak is a novel about a girl who becomes the only human left of earth, and how she survives.
Read it? Absolutely.
Recommend it? YES! I don’t know if it’ll be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s appropriate for all ages and absolutely beautiful.
Buy it? I know I will be getting a copy for my personal library, and I encourage others to do so too when this book hits shelves.
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