Bear by Marian Engel

Bear by Marian Engel

This Canadian novel is notable for its erotic scenes between a woman and bear.

I sheepishly admit that do not actually read that much Canadian literature. I picked this up as an attempt to rectify that. Once in awhile, I try to be a good Canadian reader. Why not since this book has an interesting premise and it is short. I did not expect a lot, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

The prose was very nice. The sentences in this book are short almost clipped, simple, but elegant and full of good diction. The book is dated with its use of the word “Indians”, but in general there was something quite timeless about it. Having been in Northwestern Ontario, I could see the scenery and setting. She was able to elicit visuals and imagery with very few words. It was just very well-written in its simplicity and brevity.

The controversial moments of the book were a bit strange and discomforting, but I understood her exploration of Lou the protagonist. The book has Feminist undertones as well in the midst of the Canadian wilderness. I understood the themes and the metaphor all wrapped up in tasteful prose.

I’m slightly surprised because I think this may one of the best written Canadian novels I’ve read in a long time. I think this woman can rival Magaret Atwood.

I had written this review after reading the book, but I lost it.

Read April 20th 2013.

2 thoughts on “Bear by Marian Engel

    • athena (Post author)

      Hi Susan! It is pretty weird, but it’s not the whole book. The bear scenes are discomforting, but it’s an extended metaphor about the protagonist rediscovering herself. Engel does have a way with words and it’s quite Canadian otherwise. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but it was much better than I expect. Cheers!


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