Bear, Marian Engel


YOU GUYS. I knew what I was reading when I started reading, and I’m still struggling to find words for this book.

If you haven’t read Bear, or you haven’t heard of Bear, well, you probably never took a Canadian literature course. For the uninitiated: Bear is about a lonely archivist who goes to northern Ontario and does the dirty with a bear.

It’s also a really extraordinary book. Engel was a very good writer, and this ticks every box you’d want for a well-written bit of wilderness Canadiana. It won the Governor General’s Award for English-language Fiction in 1976. Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro, and Margaret Laurence were on the jury, and they generally knew what was up.

One thing, though: this is a weird book to read on Christmas Day.

Books read: 14




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