The Bear

224 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $17.99
ISBN: 9781942658702


ISBN: 9781942658719

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The Bear is a luminous book of a standard one sees perhaps once every generation. . . . As [it] tenderly breaks your heart, piece by piece, it fills that void with something powerful and timeless. Written with precision, clarity, and gentle fluidity, The Bear reminds us that all we need to know awaits us in the wild.”

Pete Takeda, Mountain Book Competition Jury citation

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“This fable about seeking harmony with nature by Earth’s last human inhabitants—a father and daughter—has lessons of love, loss, family and survival.”

Massachusetts Book Awards jury citation

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“Lyrical. . . . Gorgeous. . . . Krivak’s serene and contemplative novel invites us to consider a vision of time as circular, of existence as grand and eternal.”

Washington Post

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“Beautiful. . . . So loving and vivid that you can feel the lake water and smell the sea. . . . A perfect fable for the age of solastalgia.”


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“Arresting, exquisite. . . . The Bear is more than a parable for our times, it’s a call to listen to the world around us before it’s too late.”


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“[A] tender apocalyptic fable . . . endowed with such fullness of meaning that you have to assign this short, touching book its own category: the post-apocalypse utopia.”

Wall Street Journal

“A beautiful, gripping, thought-provoking exploration of human rewilding and nature’s dominion.”

Winnipeg Free Press

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“A lyrical fable for fans of soft apocalypse. . . . You’ll find yourself wanting to read sentences aloud for the full affect.”

The Sound

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“Defies categorizing. . . . Immense in its truths.”

Harvard Press

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“Draws you in immediately.”


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“There’s a transcendence in Krivak’s prose.”

Addison Independent

“Stellar. . . . The powerful impact of this slim, exquisite novel reveal[s] the wisdom of the natural world.”

WOSU All Things Considered

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“[A] thoughtful, meditative exploration of humanity’s place in the world.”


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“Beautiful. . . . A powerful allegory about the struggles and graces of life.”

America Magazine

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“With artistry and grace . . . Krivak delivers a transcendent journey into a world where all living things—humans, animals, trees—coexist in magical balance, forever telling each other’s unique stories. This beautiful and elegant novel is a gem.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“A moving post-apocalyptic fable for grown-ups. . . . Ursula K. Le Guin would approve.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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“Engagingly different. . . . Unfolds in graceful, luminous prose.”

Library Journal (starred review)

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“[Krivak’s] sentences are polished stones of wonder. . . . The elegiac tone reflects what is lost and what will be lost, an enchantment as if Wendell Berry had reimagined Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.”


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“The power of a classic myth. . . . Krivak’s lyrical tribute to the natural world and the necessity for humans to coexist with it is an essential message cloaked within an allegory of haunting beauty.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

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“A lovely, unforgettable experience.”

Foreword Reviews

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“A dreamy, poetic novel that imagines a (nearly) humanless Earth as a thing of beauty.”


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“Infused with compassion and hope. . . . Krivak’s prose fills the reader with awe for the greatness of nature.”

Electric Literature

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“Uplifting and beautiful, Krivak has written a gem of a fable; a portrait of survival that comes full circle.”

Paperback Paris

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“This is a novel that can change perceptions of the Earth and our place in it.”


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“As heartwarming as a novel about the end of the world can get. . . . The Bear is a beautiful and breathtakingly sad cautionary tale about a future that’s becoming ever more believable.”

The Lineup

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“In a world drowning in careless excess, The Bear suggests another way, and the rewards are great.”

Seattle Book Review

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“This timely, emotional fable about the dual powers of nature and human endurance is profound in its simplicity. Like all the best fables, the wisdom of Krivak’s tale lingered long after we finished it.”

Apple Books

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“Widely relatable and deeply moving.”


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“This is as close to a perfect novel as I’ve read. . . . Krivak is working with the care and atmosphere of Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and the dire sentimentality of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but is tuned to a higher and more eternal frequency. I will treasure The Bear, and am so glad it exists to counterbalance these futile, furious times.”

Robert Martin, Independent Booksellers Consortium Executive Director

“A beautiful elegy on the transience of life. . . . The Bear will transport you to another time and place and make you feel the simple beauty of being alive.”

Charlie, Towne Book Center (Collegeville, PA)

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“Part starkly real survival story, part dream-like fable: I devoured this in one sitting.”

Dawn, Next Page Books & Nosh (Frisco, CO)

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“An essential novel for our times, The Bear encapsulates the essence of isolation and our connection to the natural world.”

Jenna, Eagle Harbor Book Co. (Bainbridge Island, WA)

The Bear is a beautiful throwback to folk tales and fairy tales, while at the same time paying tribute to the dystopian books of today.”

Miranda Atkins, A Little Bookish (Ooltewah, TN)

“Beautiful. . . . Will grab you and not let go.”

Karen Bellovich, Anderson’s Bookshop (LaGrange, IL)

“Beautifully written. . . . [The Bear] is a fable that will move into your heart as well as your mind, and stay there forever.”

Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, WA)

“This slim novel is part adventure story, part fantasy and part love story to the world of nature.”

Tim Budd, Prairie Lights (Iowa City, IA) on Iowa Public Radio

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“I could not put down The Bear. Although an easy read, the masterful storytelling of Andrew Krivak challenges readers with ideas of survival and adventure amidst loss. . . . A simply beautiful read.”

Heidi Carter, Bogan Books (Fort Kent, ME)

“Krivak writes so poetically, despite the many sad moments in the story, reading it was a relaxing escape.”

Gabbi Cisneros, Porchlight Book Company (Milwaukee, WI)

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“A sparsely told story that leaves you questioning whether we are more than just our memories.”

Sydne Conant, A Room of One’s Own (Madison, WI)

“What a balm to read a book so lovely that moves at a measured pace in this fast-paced age. . . . This is a book that takes the reader to heart: a story to be savored, a grace to be received.”

Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books (Northern California)

“Krivak’s nature writing is simply divine. This lyrical fable has a few white-knuckled moments, but it’s the story’s tender spirituality that kept me up reading through the night.”

Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café (Plainville, MA)

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“Sad and beautiful and hopeful all at the same time. . . . I love the philosophical take on how humans fit into nature.”

Teri Den Herder, UCSD Bookstore (La Jolla, CA)

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“I read some wonderful books this year, but this fable . . . is something my mind returned to over and over. It is a small, beautiful book.”

Kelly Estep, Carmichael’s Bookstore (Louisville, KY)

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“Tender and lyrical, beautifully descriptive and with just enough suspense to temper the story, The Bear is divine.”

Lee Virden Geurkink, Monkey and Dog Books (Fort Worth, TX)

“[The Bear] should have a permanent spot on your shelf.”

Kristin Enola Gilbert, Exile in Bookville (Chicago, IL)

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“Ancient in its rhythm and content, Andrew Krivak’s The Bear reads as a folktale from an entirely possible, fast-approaching future. The lives that may very well be lived by the last of us are lyrically and lovingly articulated across these pages.”

Jack Hawthorn, Raven Book Store (Lawrence, KS)

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“A story anyone can connect with.”

Maggie Henriksen, Carmichael’s Bookstore (Louisville, KY)

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“Achingly beautiful.”

Joelle Herr, The Bookshop (Nashville, TN) in the Nashville Scene

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“The more time I spend thinking about [The Bear], the more astonished I am at just how damn good it is.”

Lane Jacobson, Paulina Springs Books (Sisters, OR)

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Harrison Jahnke, Country Bookshelf (Bozeman, MT)

“Poetically written. . . . This book takes a bleak and played-out genre and gives it a new twist. An immersive story not quite about the end-times, but about new beginnings.”

Daniel K., Prologue Bookshop (Columbus, OH)

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The Bear is a beautifully written modern fable. . . . It feels both timeless and very much of our time, as it plays on anxieties about climate change and the end of human civilization.”

Kathleen Keenan, A Novel Spot Bookshop (Etobicoke, Ontario)

“Both timeless and of the moment, this moving, elegant fable for adults is the perfect antidote to our fast-paced, anxious lives. . . . A transcendent, luminous book that will stay with you.”

Shane Khosropour, Unabridged Bookstore (Chicago, IL)

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“An exquisite tale of all living things existing in beautiful balance and has one of the most perfect endings of any book I’ve read.”

Gaël LeLamer, Books & Books (Miami, FL) in the Miami Herald

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“A modern day fable with lessons on how to reconnect with the natural world. . . . Precise and beautiful.”

Robert Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore (Lakewood, NY)

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“A lovely, emotional tale.”

Jackie Mann, Anderson’s Bookshop (La Grange, IL)

“Beautiful, poignant and magical. . . . I loved and savored every single word.”

Seth Marko, Book Catapult (San Diego, CA)

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“Read The Bear to be transformed.”

Laura Mills, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)

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“This book is majestic! A beautiful and poignant tribute to nature and the resiliency of the spirit.”

Rachel Oriatti, Anderson’s Bookshop (Downers Grove, IL)

“Flora and fauna further a companionless young woman’s education in survival in The Bear. I fought tears throughout the girl’s journey: her story is THAT BEAUTIFUL!.”

Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books (East Troy, WI)

“This was such an interesting book. Not very long, but the way the prose felt slow and meaningful pulled me in and made me slow down to read it. . . . When I finished, I felt like I’d had an experience, not just read a book.”

Izzy Stringham, Bookbinders Basalt (Basalt, CO)

“This is humanity at its purest form—a primal love story to our place among the wild things. Stark and beautiful.”

Robin Templin, Watermark Books & Café (Wichita, KS)

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“Krivak’s little gem of a book has some of the lushest, loveliest nature writing you’ll ever read, but in addition to that, it has the timeless feel of a fable. . . . I never knew that a tale about humanity’s end days could be so quietly powerful, and leave me with a sense of peace and optimism.”

Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks (Chicago, IL)

“One of the best reads I’ve had in a long time.”

Doloris Vest, Book No Further (Roanoke, VA) on Book City Roanoke podcast

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“A stunningly quiet, simple, and perfect book.”

Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI)

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“A young girl and her father live alone in a mountain forest that fronts a lake in a devastated world. She learns from him how to live off the land, hunting for food, and finding shelter. The Bear is the moving story of a journey they make together to the ocean, and the bear who helps her find her way back home. For fans of The Dogs Stars (Heller) and The Road (McCarthy).”

LibraryReads citation, Sandy Jones Boyd, Mountain Regional Public Library (Young Harris, GA)

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“Lyrical. . . . By the end of the novel, the reader is led to accept particularly difficult aspects of the novel’s reality that overlap with our own—that the world will endure without us, that natural cycles of birth and death will continue, and that human intelligence is not the only kind to have a lasting impact on the life of the planet.”

Joseph, Spartanburg County Public Libraries (Spartanburg, SC)

“This book reminded me to marvel at nature and its raw and innate strength. And to also marvel at the tenacity of the human spirit and how we are all shaped by our world and our experience.”

Melissa, Western Sullivan Public Library System (NY)

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“Immerses the reader in nature and explores man’s relationship with the surrounding life.”

Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, Olathe Public Library (Olathe, KS)

“A truly moving story laced with a delicate insight into both the fragility and resilience of mankind.”

Max Blanchette, Merrimack Public Library (Merrimack, NH)

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“Krivak definitely has a gift for unique stories and I know my patrons will really enjoy his work.”

Meagan Brown, Cromaine District Library (Hartland, MI)

“Transcendent. . . . Simply amazing.”

Mike Wysock, The Book Stall (Winnetka, IL)

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“Very enjoyable.”

Kayla Campbell, Plum City Public Library (Plum City, WI)

“Heartbreaking. . . . It has been nearly two months since I finished The Bear and I’m still ruminating on its melancholy yet somehow hopeful ode to the beauty the natural world has to offer.”

Christopher Clark, Eisenhower Public Library (Harwood Heights, IL)

“A book to savor.”

Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library (Azusa, CA)

“Unique, remarkable, and beautiful.”

Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library (Delphi, IN)

“Gorgeous prose and luscious descriptions of the natural world. Krivak reminds us of our own frailty and the fierce bond between human and animal.”

Lillian Dabney, Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum (Seattle, WA)

“Refreshing. . . . A simple story written with an unflinching but compassionate voice, Krivak’s tale should be thoughtfully savored while it slowly winds its way into your moral conscience.”

Kyle Evans, Springfield-Greene County Library (Springfield, MO)

“Lovers of language take note: the act of reading this book is truly an experience.”

Karissa Fast, St. Catharines Public Library (Saint Catharines, Ontario)

“This beautiful book about survival and community moved me deeply.”

Krista Feick, Columbus Metropolitan Library (Columbus, OH)

“Not only a thought provoking read, [The Bear] serves as a potential origin story for a future full of limitless possibilities in which man is no longer a dominate force. A must read for grown-up fans of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.”

Lynn Harlan, Calvert Library (Frederick, MD)

“Add me to those who loved The Bear by Andrew Krivak. This is one of those books that seems simplistic at first and then completely draws you in to its world.”

Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brooklyn, OH)

“Profound and unforgettable. . . . Beautifully demonstrates the enduring strength and sensibility of the natural world.”

Joanna Kluever, Julia Hull District Library (Stillman Valley, IL)

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“Stunning. . . . Krivak gives us a startling view of the future; of being alone and trying to understand a world that no longer exists.”

Janette McMahon, Fremont County Library System (WY)

“This adult fable touches on themes of family, the environment, the struggle for survival, and the need for harmony with nature. I enjoyed meeting the Bear, the Puma, and the fierce unnamed female narrator who was stronger than I could ever imagine. This one is compelling.”

Kelly Moore, Carrollton Public Library (Carrollton, TX)

“This was a book that really makes you think about the future and the choices that we as humans are making today.”

Courtney Reynolds, John Tomay Memorial Library (Georgetown, CO)

“I ended up reading this in one sitting because I enjoyed it so much. . . . The words were simple and honest, but the picture they painted was delightful.”

Lauren Rhodes, St. Louis County Library (St. Louis, MO)

“Hauntingly beautiful, written in a poetic style, I highly recommend The Bear.”

Judy Sebastian, Eastham Public Library and Friends of the Eastham Library (Eastham, MA)

“A wondrous take on love, loss and the natural world.”

Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library (Batavia, IL)

“Very beautiful. . . . As harrowing as The Martian. . . . In these kind of scary, uncertain times, not only do you get tips for survival, but . . . ultimately this feeling of hope for how humans might complete the circle of their existence on Earth.”

Karen Stern, Lucius Beebe Memorial Library (Wakefield, MA)

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“This book combines the elegiac, hauntingly spare prose of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road with the vivid nature writing of Jack London, plus a dash of magical realism. . . . The writing is beautifully evocative, through each season and habitat.”

Maree Watkins, Fairfax County Public Library (Fairfax, VA)

“If you liked the isolation, survival, and life-learning lessons of Where the Crawdads Sing, The Bear is a great read.”

Taylor Woods, Mid-Continent Public Library (MO)

“In spare and lovely prose, Andrew Krivak folds the deep past and the far future into a remarkable fable about our inheritance as humanity makes a harmonic return to the spirit and animal worlds. This book follows you, like a river under ice.”

Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles

“A tight yet expansive novel in prose so vivid you forget these are words and not the cedar, trout, and stones of a post-Anthropocene Earth. Through the middle of The Bear walks an unnamed girl whose determination to go on living will fill you with awe.”

Salvatore Scibona, author of The End and The Volunteer

“Reading The Bear will bring you back to the wonder-filled stories of childhood, the sort that linger, that alter our understanding of the world, that shape who we become. Such is the simple and profound power of Andrew Krivak’s unexpectedly hopeful novel. Crafted with as much care and mastery as the finest oaken bow, this is a book that manages to be both timeless and urgent, clear-eyed and tender-hearted, archetypal and unconventional: a bedtime tale told by a prophet. A wonder in itself.”

Josh Weil, author of The New Valley and The Age of Perpetual Light

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature’s dominion.

NEA Big Read selection

Banff Mountain Book Competition Winner

Massachusetts Book Awards Winner

Esquire “Best Books About Fatherhood” selection




Excerpt from The Bear

Tune in to NPR’s Marginalia for a fascinating interview with Andrew Krivak about his novel The Bear; take a hike with the author up Mt. Monadnock, the mountain that inspired the novel, on WBUR; and learn more about his hopes for the conversations The Bear will spark as an NEA Big Read selection.

Find out which questions drove Andrew Krivak to write The Bear at Powell’s Books, whether he believes the novel foretells our future at, and how his abiding love for literature and nature informs all of his work in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

Explore rich resources for your book club discussions about The Bear at Bookbrowse, Reading Group Choices, and hoopla.

The Bear is an NEA Big Read selection, LibraryReads Pick, Apple Books Best of the Month selection, and Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch selection. Discover the origins of this powerful story in Library Journal.


Read excerpts from The Bear at the Literary Hub and in Fordham Magazine.