NCL 172 – Bear by Marian Engel


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Bear  was not included in Series One or Series Two.


Bear by Marian Engel (New Canadian Library N172)Series Three

From the Back Cover:

The controversial novel that won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1976.

Buried like a mole in the dark, dusty archives of the Historical Institute, hard-working Lou would rather not recognize the arrival of spring. It reminds her that she had never intended to spend her days among the detritus of other people’s lives. But this year, things are a little different. In the month of May, Lou packs her car with old camping gear and heads off into the forests of northern Ontario. The Institute has been left an island estate called Pennarth, and Lou has been assigned to do on-site research in its formidable library.

But there is something else at the estate that at first seems a formidable as the library’s collection of books: a large, pet bear – the last in a long line of bears kept by the Pennarth’s eccentric owners. As spring turns into summer, Lou begins to think of the bear as a companion, and then as a friend. Freed of his chain, and allowed to roam the house at will, the bear becomes an important part of Lou’s life. And the unique relationship that grows between woman and animal eventually allows Lou to discover the importance of her own identity – to accept the past, and take responsibility for the future. [Marian Engel]


Bear by Marian Engel (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Four

From the Back Cover:

After five years buried like a mole amid the decaying maps and manuscripts of an historical institute, Lou is given a welcome assignment: to catalogue a nineteenth-century library, improbably located in an octagonal house on a remote island in northern Ontario. Eager to reconstruct the estate’s curious history, she is unprepared for her discovery that the island has one other inhabitant: a bear.

Lou’s imagination is soon overtaken by the estate’s historical occupants, whose fascination with bear lore becomes her own. Irresistibly, Lou is lead along a path of emotional and sexual self-discovery as she explores the limits of her own animal nature through a bizarre and healing relationship with the bear.

A daring and compelling novel, Marian Engel’s Bear won the Governor General’s Award for 1976.


Bear by Marian Engel (New Canadian Library) front coverSeries Five

From the Back Cover:

After five years buried like a mole amid the decaying maps and manuscripts of an historical institute, Lou is given a welcome assignment: to catalogue a nineteenth-century library, improbably located in an octagonal house on a remote island in northern Ontario. Eager to reconstruct the estate’s curious history, she is unprepared for her discovery that the island has one other inhabitant: a bear.

Lou’s imagination is soon overtaken by the estate’s historical occupants, whose fascination with bear lore becomes her own. Irresistibly, Lou is lead along a path of emotional and sexual self-discovery as she explores the limits of her own animal nature through a bizarre and healing relationship with the bear.

A daring and compelling novel, Marian Engel’s Bear won the Governor General’s Award for 1976.


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