cover image The Bear

The Bear

Andrew Krivak. Bellevue, $16.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-942658-70-2

With artistry and grace, National Book Award–finalist Krivak (The Sojourn) offers a story of endurance and a return to life with nature in a postapocalyptic world, where an unnamed father and daughter are the only remaining humans on earth. The father teaches his child the rudiments of survival—hunting, fishing, and other life lessons—preparing her for a time when she will someday have to manage without him. That day comes sooner than expected, when, on one of their forays away from the protected mountain home he and his now deceased wife had constructed before their daughter’s birth, he is bitten by an animal and soon after dies from infection. Then, the book takes a mystical turn when a bear befriends the girl, now 12, helping her recover from her father’s death and teaching her where to find fish, nuts, berries, and other kinds of sustenance as they make the arduous trip back to her home, so she can inter her father’s bones on the mountaintop where her mother’s remains are buried. Krivak delivers a transcendent journey into a world where all living things—humans, animals, trees—coexist in magical balance, forever telling each other’s unique stories. This beautiful and elegant novel is a gem. (Feb.)