Marian Engel, who died in 1985 after a tragic struggle with cancer, was among Canada’s most celebrated and beloved novelists. Her last, best known, and most controversial book was Bear (winner of the Governor-General’s Award) in which a mousy, timid librarian is summoned to a remote Canadian island to inventory the estate of Colonel Cary, who, she learns soon enough, had any number of secrets. But the most surprising and enduring secret is a pet bear. In thirty pages, the reticent librarian meets the not so reticent bear and “wonders if it would be good company.” It is good company indeed. Intimate company. Shocking company.
This book contains mature content.
Bear is a strange and wonderful book, plausible as kitchens, but shapely as a folktale, and with the same disturbing resonance. — Margaret Atwood