Tuesday 2 July 2024

BOOK NOTE - The Bear - Andrew Krivak


Ever so often, I come across a book that I am unable to put down. I purchased The Bear by Andrew Krivak on a Saturday morning after reading a recommendation and finished it by Monday evening. All 220 pages. You could say I devoured it.

Krivak is an American author of some repute, having won several prestigious awards. He has written only four books, but all have been critically successful. I suspect he will become one of those standout American literary authors who may not attract a large audience but will find critical acclaim. His work is part novel, part philosophy, offering unique observations about the human condition. Note: there is another Andrew Krivak who comes up in Google searches. This other Krivak was recently acquitted after being incarcerated for 24 years. He was proven innocent of crimes he was wrongly convicted for. They are not the same person.

The Bear is a unique piece of work. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the last of humanity consists of a father and his young daughter. They live in the wilderness, surviving through the ‘fruits’ of nature and the wisdom passed down to them. The father and daughter are survivors, making a successful but hard living because they have no other option. Their existence is rather melancholy as it is just them, their conversations, and their thoughts. Eventually, when the father passes on, the girl, still in her early teens, must learn how to survive the wilderness and the harsh seasons. She does so with the help of a pantheon of animals, including the titular bear, a panther, and an eagle.

Two interesting observations about the human condition emerge from this story. One, no matter how much we progress technologically as a society, every child must learn about the external and internal environments completely afresh. Therefore, the second point is that the more teachers, that are good in helping us navigate our learning in life, the better.

A must-read

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