The Bear: A Novel (Paperback)
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A young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a brutal bear attack in this "emotional tour de force" (Megan Abbott)
While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of screaming. A rogue black bear has entered the family's campsite and is attacking her parents.
At her dying mother's urging, Anna manages to get her brother into the family's canoe and paddle away. But when the canoe runs aground on the edge of the woods, the sister and brother must battle hunger, the elements, and a wilderness alive with danger. Lost and completely alone, they find that their only hope resides in Anna's struggle to be brave when nothing in her world seems safe anymore.
Told in the innocent voice of a child, THE BEAR is a transporting tale about love, loss, and the raw instincts that enable us to survive.
About the Author
Claire Cameron's first novel, The Line Painter, was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best crime first novel and won the Northern Lit Award from the Ontario Library Service. Cameron's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Globe & Mail, and The Millions. She worked as a wilderness instructor in Ontario's Algonquin Park and for Outward Bound. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
PRAISE FOR THE BEAR:
"[A] gripping survival thriller...Cameron unspools the adventure in Anna's twitchy voice, heightening the tension...This agonizing odyssey of loss and being lost also has humor...The book's anguished yet hopeful ending provides a touching terminus...This expertly crafted novel could do for camping what Jaws did for swimming."--Richard Eisenberg, People
"A page turner...The Bear creates suspense out of the gap between what Anna knows and what the reader suspects...The story is laced with humor and moments of joy and triumph as well as fear and sorrow...Anna is such a compelling character...So gripping that it is hard to put the novel down."--Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
"The novel, written in the honest and unfiltered voice of the young girl, is a compact, tense survival story...A thoughtful take on change and fear, and the strength we find within ourselves."--Jon Foro, Omnivoracious
"A vividly portrayed wilderness ordeal (poison ivy, hunger, rain, isolation) juxtaposed with glimpses of the inner resources young Anna draws upon (imagination, family, memory, hope), all seen through the eyes of a child who can express, if not entirely understand, her own resentment and protectiveness of her brother, her love and longing for her parents, her fear and empathy for the predator, and her determination to persevere...Uplifting."--Publishers Weekly, "Pick of the Week"
"[An] adventure with a narration that nicely captures an ordinary child's way of thinking-and of blocking out unwelcome knowledge. [A] slam-bang opening...Scary...Darkly funny...A touching epilogue...Harrowing but ultimately hopeful."--Kirkus Reviews
"An emotional tour de force. Claire Cameron's The Bear offers us an unforgettable child narrator who propels us through a story as unsettling as it is bone-chilling, and as suspenseful as it is moving."--Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me
"The Bear is a taut and touching story of how a child's love and denial become survival skills. Claire Cameron takes a fairytale situation of children pitted against the wilderness, removes the fairies, and adds a terrifying and ravenous bear. I devoured this wonderful new novel in one day."--Charlotte Rogan, author of the national bestseller The Lifeboat
"Claire Cameron has written a chilling, beautiful, voice-driven novel, one that will turn your blood cold, make you laugh, and remind you of all the ways you are human. Most importantly she honors the complexity of our relationship with nature, the ways we are humbled by it and tethered to it. A vivid, potent, and unforgettable novel."--Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise
"Claire Cameron plunges us in to the dark terrors of the wilderness. The Bear is a survival story that is heart-pounding and moving. I devoured this book."--Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things
"The Bear faultlessly captures the wonder, bewilderment, fear and self-centeredness of five-year-old Anna, and beautifully balances the darkness of her tale with a hopeful, sensitively told back story and moments when she grasps her situation with just enough clarity to shoulder her burden."--Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls
"Thrilling and harrowing...I couldn't put this book down. And I must say that the ending was so right, I caught myself holding my breath. A remarkable novel."--Anthony De Sa, author of Kicking the Sky
"Harrowing suspense. The Bear is a survival thriller that is told from a child's-eye point-of-view, which is not only convincing but doubles the tension. A heartbreaking, white-knuckle read."--Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist
"The Bear is a harrowing and endlessly hopeful novel-an unforgettable hymn to the legacy of familial love. Claire Cameron is alive to mind of the child. Her assured evocation of soon-to-be-six-year-old Anna hits all the right notes: the connective web of association and analogy; the permeable skin between truth and story; the immersive experience of time. This is subtle magic-the transportive spell of a pitch-perfect narrative voice. We witness the unfolding of events through Anna's eyes while simultaneously watching over her small shoulder, hearts in our mouths. The Bear is no fable, gentle reader. A source of terror and lonely solace, Cameron's fur-clad villain threatens from without and from within. Like our unwilling heroine, we must be very, very brave."--Alissa York, author of Fauna