"The last two were a girl and her father...." The simplicity of these opening words sets the tone for The Bear, a delicate and poetic novel of a post-apocalyptic world, a place of quiet peace where the remaining humans exist harmoniously with nature. Andrew Krivak, author of The Sojourn, which was a National Book Award finalist and the winner of the Chautauqua Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, brings the power of a classic myth to his tale of two survivors living in the aftermath of an unnamed catastrophe that has turned them into hunter-gatherers.
Generations distant from a destroyed civilization, the father and daughter treasure fragments from it: a single glass window, "the skill for making it... lost and forgotten"; books written by "poets with strange names like Homer and Virgil"; a silver comb that once belonged to the girl's dead mother.
The father teaches his child how to hunt with a bow and arrows she has made herself, how to clothe herself with animal skins, how to use the stars as her guides. And through the story of a human who once assumed the shape of a bear, a puma and an eagle to save his people, the father teaches her that humans need the help of animals in order to survive. After her father's death, the girl learns, and lives, what he told in his story.
Krivak's lyrical tribute to the natural world and the necessity for humans to coexist with it is an essential message cloaked within an allegory of haunting beauty. --Janet Brown, author and former bookseller