Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

This novel has had me curious for months. I thought twice about reading it now, in the middle of all this state of unknowingness. After all, it is about a father and a daughter, the only two people left on the planet. But I decided to read it anyway, and once again book magic happened, just when I needed some in my life. 

It's a short novel, but packs a punch. Father and daughter live in a small home set deep in a vast forest. They are the only two humans left alive, many years after something happened that ended life for humans. Animals of every kind flourish, and nature has reclaimed everything for itself. Father and daughter live in harmony with the land; everything they have they receive from the trees, the plants, the river and the animals. Except for one precious pane of glass, and a few books, nothing really remains of civilization. Father has only known this life and just a handful of people--including daughter's mother, who died when daughter was a baby. He has taught daughter everything he knows in order to survive: making clothes and shoes, weapons for hunting and fishing, how to gather food and hunt. He has even taught her to read and write. Father has also shared with daughter stories of the forest and of the bears that pass down stories of the world through each generation. 

Father and daughter go on a journey to the ocean, to gather salt. Daughter finds herself suddenly alone, and must find her way home again. Will she survive? Amazingly, a bear comes to her aid when she needs it the most. Bears in this novel remind me of wise elders who take care of everything around them.   Daughter's journey home is pretty powerful. 

This is a novel about a world where civilization is gone, but it's not an apocalyptic novel. I found it incredibly peaceful. It is about living with nature, taking only what you need, honoring the wisdom of nature, and listening because nature is always talking, especially the trees. 

I loved it! Wow. This is perfect for those who love to read about nature, or people who spend a lot of time outside just taking it all in. It's also a great novel to read in the Spring, when everything is waking up, and we turn to gardening and growing. 

Rating: 5/6 for a novel that hit the spot for me this week. Beautifully written, quiet and powerful. Sit somewhere outside quiet and let the novel take you away. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 

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