The Bear: A Novel

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The Bear: A Novel

by Claire Cameron

Doubleday Canada | February 11, 2014 | Trade Paperback

The Bear: A Novel is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 4.
The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. . . . It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws.

Told from the point of view of a six-year-old child, The Bear is the story of Anna and her little brother, Stick--two young children forced to fend for themselves in Algonquin Park after a black bear attacks their parents. A gripping and mesmerizing exploration of the child psyche, this is a survival story unlike any other, one that asks what it takes to survive in the wilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 pages, 8.19 × 5.8 × 0.72 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385679025

ISBN - 13: 9780385679022

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good ... but I wanted to like it more I am a huge fan of stories written from an interesting point of view - which in this case comes from the narration of Anna, age 5. I did enjoy this book, consumed it over a few days, and it was relatively un-put-down-able. BUT ... I wanted to like it more. The story was really really basic, albeit tragic. The child's perspective is always fascinating, and of course, that was my favourite part. That said, as far as a child's narrative goes, I would say that Emma Donoghue's "Room" was a far superior book, with better developed characters and had more of a storyline.
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I bought and finished it in 2 days. It was such a page turner, i couldn't get enough of it. I kept putting my children in the novel. Their the same age as the two in this book. It opened up my mind so much more as a mother & all the duties i have to do to make sure my children are prepared for this world and all the dangers it holds. I'm almost lost for words. I would recommend everyone to read this book, its truly touching, brave, courageous and loving...
Date published: 2014-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully heart wrenching. Despite the difficult topic, I couldn't put this book down and a week later still feel haunted by the storie. Highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2014-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gut wrenchingly good I love to read. And I read a lot. I only choose books I know I'm going to enjoy. But every so often, there's that book that goes beyond that enjoyment feeling - one that absolutely grabs you, has you tingling with anticipation knowing there's an amazing story just waiting within the pages, one that you can't wait to tell others about. Well, I'm telling you - The Bear by Claire Cameron is one of those books. I literally could not put it down. Twenty pages in, I just knew I wasn't going to bed early that night. In October of 1991, a pair of campers was attacked by a bear in Algonquin Park, Canada. "There is no clear reason for what happened other than a hungry bear decided to take a chance on a new source of food." Author Cameron was a counsellor at a summer camp at Algonquin that year as well. "The Bear is based on my memories of and research into this bear attack. I added the kids." Yes, kids. The Bear is told through the eyes and voice of five year old Anna. She and her two year old brother Stick, are the survivors of an attack that kills their parents - and leaves them alone in the vast wilderness that is Algonquin. As adults, we know what is happening and what they should do, but Anna is only five and has limited skills, knowledge and experience to draw on. It is frightening and heartbreaking to imagine this truly happening - the confusion, the questions, the fear and the loss. Cameron does a truly fantastic job of bringing this to the page with Anna's voice. Through her memories, thoughts and senses (smell and touch are very important to Anna) we come to know the children, the family's life, the parents and their love for Anna and Stick. Anna draws on her memories time and time again as she struggles with what to do. The Bear is told in a 'stream-of-consciousness', non-linear format that was highly effective and heightened the tension. Emotional, unsettling, gripping and gut-wrenchingly good. Highly, highly recommended.
Date published: 2014-02-19

– More About This Product –

The Bear: A Novel

by Claire Cameron

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 pages, 8.19 × 5.8 × 0.72 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385679025

ISBN - 13: 9780385679022

From the Publisher

The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. . . . It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws.

Told from the point of view of a six-year-old child, The Bear is the story of Anna and her little brother, Stick--two young children forced to fend for themselves in Algonquin Park after a black bear attacks their parents. A gripping and mesmerizing exploration of the child psyche, this is a survival story unlike any other, one that asks what it takes to survive in the wilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.

About the Author

CLAIRE CAMERON grew up in Toronto and studied at Queen''s University. She led canoe trips in Algonquin Park and worked as an instructor for Outward Bound, teaching mountaineering, climbing and white-water rafting in Oregon. She lived San Francisco and London, UK, until moving back to Toronto, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, National Post and The Millions. Her first novel, The Line Painter, won the Northern Lit Award from the Ontario Library Service and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Crime Writing Award for best first novel. Visit the author at www.claire-cameron.com.

Editorial Reviews

"The Bear had me up all night, and when I finally put it down I knew that I wouldn''t  forget Anna and her little brother Stick for a long time. Claire Cameron is an absolute master in letting us feel grief and loss by never using those words. The ending is very moving and offers us real consolation at the same time." -- Herman Koch, author of The Dinner "A masterful balancing act of suspense and relief. . . . A bravura performance." —The Globe and Mail   “Extraordinary.... Stylistically impressive and deeply moving.” —Glamour (UK) “Cameron’s resonant plot and Anna’s unforgettable voice add up to a novel destined to stay with you long after you’ve chewed through it.” — The Globe and Mail “This expertly crafted novel could do for camping what Jaws did for swimming. . . . A gripping survival thriller.” — People   “Anna’s a character who stays with you long after you’ve put the book down. . . . This is a thrilling and utterly captivating tale.” — Chatelaine   “A gripping, affecting story that reads like a hybrid of Henry James’s What Maisie Knew and Margaret Atwood’s Survival . . . . It serves as a reminder that the quest for survival doesn’t end with rescue––and that children are not alone in venturing into terrain far more treacherous than they can ever know.” — Maclean’s “Claire Cameron mana
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Bookclub Guide

1. How did you react to reading an entire book from the perspective of a five-year-old? Did you like Anna’s voice? Did it take some time for you to connect and/or relate to the differences in syntax?

2. One of the challenges an author takes on by using a young child as narrator is that their vocabulary is limited as often is their viewpoint. Because of this narrative style, the reader is left to connect a lot of the dots themselves. Were there any parts that you reread once you were used to the style?

3. Do you think the story would have been as compelling if it wasn’t told in first person? How would it have differed?

4. The novel is divided into four sections (three parts and an epilogue), each with an identifiable theme. Discuss.

5. Did you sense an element of humour in the narrative? If so, what was its role? What are the different ways that Cameron used suspense to build the narrative?

6. What are five adjectives you would use to describe this book?

7. Have you ever encountered a bear in the wilderness? Will this story change the way you feel about camping and the outdoors?

8. Did the book make you feel anxious, were there any parts that were hard to read? Was there a particular scene that resonated with you? Explain what sort of emotions came up for you and why.

9. Examine the way the children responded to being alone in the wilderness. Do you think you would have acted similarly under the same circumstances at their age? Would you have returned to the island?

10. Discuss the evolution of Anna and Stick’s relationship over the course of the narrative. What are some of the difficulties that the children have to deal with other than the bear?

11. How did you interpret the significance of Gwen?

12. What do you think Anna is talking about when she refers to the “black dog” in her belly? How did her perception of the bear change over the course of her life? Do you think the bear is also a metaphor for something? Are there any other metaphors that stood out for you?

13. Based on Anna''s long road to recovery after the attack, and her bout of silence, she was clearly much more traumatized by the events than her initial telling of the story would have us believe. What are the implications of this trauma?

14. What kind of domestic conflict do you think occurred between Anna’s parents before the trip?  What was its significance to the story?

15. In what ways was the return to the island different for Alex and Anna? What did you think of the ending?

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