First of all,
HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!
That GIF will make more sense when I get to the book I’m reviewing!! Ha ha!!
Well, I have to explain the story behind this review. I had Vanessa over at Food in Books suggest that we start a “Sexy Sunday” collaborative post in which we review books with noteworthy sex scenes (STAY TUNED. THIS WILL BE THE 1ST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH AND WILL BE STARTING IN AUGUST…. DON’T WORRY, I’VE ALREADY BEEN VETO’D FROM PICKING A BOOK! HA HA!). It being Canada Day on the First Sunday of July, I thought it would be great to feature a Canadian Author so, the search commenced!
I was searching and searching and I came across an article titled “11 Books that Prove Canadian Literature is Insane-and Insanely Amazing” Ummm… yes, please?? So, scrolling through those I found “Bear”, I’m going to post the synopsis now and, for those of you who know me you will know why I had to read it. I’m going to post the synopsis from the article I read on The Bustle as Goodreads just didn’t do it justice.
An erotic affair between a librarian and a bear. That’s right — a young woman gets it on with an actual four-legged, furred and clawed bear. And this isn’t one of those suggestively erotic novels: Bear features descriptive, disturbing, no-holds-barred (heh) bestiality sex scenes.
So, for those of you who know me, I basically said “That is the most F@#*ed up thing I’ve ever heard!! …..CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!”
Now to unveil the cover of the book… I know this whole post is not my normal format, but, LIVE A LITTLE!!
All I can say is… What did I just read?? I am definitely going to need to process this one, so it’s going to be a “chat now, rate later” sort of review… If I rate it at all. This book won the Governor General’s Literature Award, which is a pretty high honour for us… I don’t get it. I will say right now, the article had it wrong. Although, it is somewhat explicit, it’s not as bad as they depict it (thankfully!!) It’s not “no holds barred sex scenes” there are some uncomfortable scenes (very uncomfortable!), but it’s not as bad as all that.
*WARNING* This review will not be for everyone. Canadian lituature can be pretty messed up (Oh, Canada! 🇨🇦🍁) There will be some crass language and sexual quotes in this one. (Don’t blame me, blame Marian Engel)
Judging from the Afterword that I read, maybe I just didn’t understand this book??
First I will start with two quotes that I actually really liked!!
“The trouble with you Ontario girls is you never acquire any kind of sophistication.”
Well, this one just made me laugh as, I just so happen to be a girl from Ontario!! 😂😂 STAY UNSOPHISTICATED ONTARIO! 💖💖
“Because what she disliked in men was not their eroticism, but their assumption that women had none. Which left women with nothing to be but housemaids.”
Although, women are standing up and showing that they are also sexual beings, this is still a problem in society. We’re not looked at as erotic beings a lot of the time, and if we are “erotic” is synonymous with “slut”. Otherwise, we’re looked at as potential mothers and housemaids.
Now, on to the weird!!
This book was definitely a challenge. Lou goes off to the Island Estate of a Colonel Cary to go through his library and see if she can fins any records of the history of this mysterious property. She is a woman who is definitely very lonely, and this loneliness is compounded when put out in the middle of nowhere to complete this job.
“Oh, she was lonely, inconsolably lonely; it was years since she had had human contact. She had always been bad at finding it. It was as if men knew that her soul was gangrenous. Ideas were all very well, and she could hide in her work, forgetting for a while the real meaning of the Institute, where the Director fucked her weekly on her desk while both of them pretended they were shocking the Government and she knew in her heart that what he wanted was not her waning flesh but elegant eighteenth-century keyholes, of which there is a shortage in Ontario.”
It’s clear that she has some definitely issues with intimacy and relationships.
“Cucumbers, she had found on investigating the possibilities suggested in Lysistrata, were cold. Women left her hungry for men. The Director shared her interests, was charming and efficient; they had much in common when they fucked on Molesworths’ maps and handwritten genealogies: but no love.”
There is a Bear that lives on the Estate in the woodshed who has always been there, and as she and the Bear get to know each other better, a bond forms… But, is this bond real? Or is it structured out of Lou’s isolation and loneliness.
“For she had discovered she could paint any face on him that she wanted, while his actual range of expression was a mystery. “
She proceeds throughout the book to personify the Bear, seeing him all the time in different fashions. I’m going to use some quotes from The Afterword Witten by Aritha Van Herk, as apparently she understands the book way better than I do!… Maybe??
“One cannot love satisfactorily without first loving oneself. And the bear, for all its physical bearishness, is a mirror to the woman, Lou, just as she, in her animal humanness, is a mirror to the bear.”
“Our discomfort with Bear is an index of the extent to which we have incorporated, listened to, and loved the animal within. If we can learn to live with that animal, that shaggy and suggestive beast, we can come clean; we will not permit a civilized bestiality to exploit us. The acceptance of its presence suggests a wholeness and happiness that our contemporary denial of the erotic and animal self has buried.”
So… What you are saying, Aritha, is that because I am uncomfortable with,
“Her fishy friend came up the stairs. His tongue bent vertically and he put it up her cunt. A note fell out of the book: The offspring of a woman and a bear is a hero, with the strength of a bear and the cleverness of a man. – Old Finnish legend. She cried with joy.”
I’m not one with myself and will never truly be loved?? .. Well, love is overrated anyways! 😉
I can’t even say the story was well written as there were passages that I highlighted and my Note was just “???”
“Byron’s bear danced,” she whispered, “but he paid no attention. If he had known you, would the Beau have finished his days among nuns, playing with his turdies?”
All in all… This book was WEIRD. And, I’ll say it before any of you do. I’M saying it’s weird, so that’s REALLY saying something!!
I still, honestly, don’t know how to rate this so I’ll let it be for now.
Has anyone else read this book? Does anyone plan to?? SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!
Bear is Best Served with
a Grizzly Bear Cocktail
- 1oz Jagermeister
- 1oz Kahlua (or coffee liqueur)
- 1oz Amaretto
- 2 1/2oz Milk
- Stir all ingredients together (except milk) in a glass with ice
- Top with milk