Bear is a novel by Canadian author Marian Engel, published in 1976. It won the Governor General's Literary Award the same year. It is Engel's fifth novel, and her most famous. The story tells of a lonely librarian in northern Ontario who enters into a sexual relationship with a bear. The book has been called "the most controversial novel ever written in Canada".
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 09:53 (five months ago) link
Woman on the Edge of Time by
― AP Chemirocha (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 09:56 (five months ago) link
Please enjoy the cover to Lois Duncan's Summer Of Fear, also released in 1976
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 09:57 (five months ago) link
Sorry, Woman On The Edge Of Time is by Marge Piercy
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 09:58 (five months ago) link
xp actual lol, actual wtf
― I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:01 (five months ago) link
Jaysus, that cover.This is Coming Through Slaughter all day long.
― Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:11 (five months ago) link
Too Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 13:17 (five months ago) link
I always forget that the Patternist novels were published out of sequence vis-a-vis the internal chronology. I will definitely vote for Wild Seed when we get there though!
― Nature's promise vs. Simple truth (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 13:35 (five months ago) link
― A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 13:37 (five months ago) link
I've only read "Children of Dune" and "Speedboat". Voting for "Speedboat".
― o. nate, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 13:52 (five months ago) link
I haven't read Bear but this does remind me that me talking about it inspired a friend to buy it - I should ask them if it's as icky as it sounds.
Actually, I haven't read that many from this year. It's between Woman on the Edge of Time and Too Loud a Solitude, but I can't decide. I read WOTEOT really quite young, and it's always been a book that stayed with me even as the details dissipated, quite a formative read. TLAS was much more recent a read, and it is very very good.
― emil.y, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 14:36 (five months ago) link
will a bunch of men get mad at me for voting speedboat
― mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 14:37 (five months ago) link
the only other thing i have to contribute is that the entire tom robbins bibliography should be burned in a great fire that consumes every last word he wrote
― mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 14:38 (five months ago) link
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 14:46 (five months ago) link
I don't know anything about Speedboat, but if it makes a bunch of men angry then I say go for it.
― emil.y, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 14:48 (five months ago) link
I somehow missed the Hrabal. Magnificent. It's still Ondaatje though.
― Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 15:11 (five months ago) link
idk i've had discussions with a lot of men who think it's brave to hate joan didion who think speedboat is worthless '70s ruling class ennui or something but i think it's basically a sick collection of keenly observed microfiction/nonfiction
― mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 15:12 (five months ago) link
I don't know how The Stone Book works without the other three parts of The Stone Book Quartet but I am voting for it anyway.
― Tim, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 15:54 (five months ago) link
Bear is an excellent book, and it got my vote. I wrote something about it a while ago for a friend's project...
"What struck me about Engel's work this time around was that if we consider the bear an archive, then the book can be considered an argument for a return to or reinvention of the archive as a sensual sphere. The archive heaves and licks and commits frottage with us, or it wants to, but habit, fear, and social custom often prevent us from engaging with the archive in this way. Often, this is for good reason— becoming intimate with the archive's deepest layers is dangerous, after all, as we can become lost in it, and what if we find ourselves in a location where searching for a way out is not pleasant, or is actively harmful? (I think here of medievalists who become sympathetic to odd white supremacist notions, for example, or the reification of patriarchal structures of knowledge that comes with so much mainstream poetry study, as another). That Bear can be read as a story of a woman determining what the archive is for herself, and deciding how deeply she desires to engage with it, is what makes Engel's work so alluring. The archive (in the form of the bear) makes its mark on Lou, as if it wants to prove itself not a trifle to be tamed, and this is a way of showing the violence inhered in all sensual relations— that Lou is terrified yet accepting of this violence is one of the more interesting things about the book, and is the issue I'm left pondering when I'm finished."
― heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 15:57 (five months ago) link
(Yes, I've been trained as an academic lol)
The thing that I found off-putting about Bear when I discovered it (I think it was only last year or the one before when I first read about it) is that while everybody talks about it as a book about the central character exploring her own sexual autonomy and freedoms and dangers, all I could think about is that chaining up a bear and having sex with it is deeply abusive to the animal, and why is this book not held up as being about humanity's awful cruelty? Maybe the bear works as a metaphor but not an actual bear? Maybe the book does address this?
Genuinely would like to know answers to these questions, as someone who hasn't read it I'm not holding fast to any opinion I've already formed or anything. I think it's partly because I do want to read it but I worry that I won't be able to get over that issue to think about anything else the book wants to show me.
― emil.y, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:12 (five months ago) link
The bear isn't chained up, from my recollection. If anything, it seems that Lou and the Bear have a mutual attraction to each other, which...you know, that poses its own issues, but the Bear definitely comes and goes as it pleases.
It's also worth noting that there is a lot of First Nations context for some of what happens in the novel (Google "Haida Bear Mother," for example).
― heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:23 (five months ago) link
Ah. I think I might have read a snippet from early on, when she first gets there, b/c I had a strong memory of reading a bit where he's described as chained.
Hadn't thought about the First Nations aspect, that is interesting.
― emil.y, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:35 (five months ago) link
You know what? I believe the Bear was a pet, actually— so it *was* chained. But Lou *unchains* the Bear as she learns from a local First Nations woman how to form a bond with it. It's been a few years, tho, so my memory is a little cloudy.
I assigned it to a class once. They all thought it was incredibly strange but loved it, and some of them were militant vegans.
― heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:38 (five months ago) link
Speedboat or The Easter Parade
How many of them have even read it.
― Chris L, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:45 (five months ago) link
Oops meant to put that in block quotes.
Coming Through Slaughter is the only novel about a musician I've come across that really seems to have learned from music, that moves through short chapters of of layered, developmental momentum and tensions (thinking of counterpoint, b and c melodies, syncopation, vamping) surfacing and rolling along some more to, through and past the end (as some records keep you listening past the fade, like where are they going, what will happen down the line, or is this just hemidemisemiquavers of the insatiably impressionable audience mind, just not accepting the finality, but if so what's wrong with that) And it's not an affect the author could soak up from playing the subject's records over and over, because Buddy Bolden.Patternmaster is also good and inimitable and Octavia E. Butler, not Olivia (but yeah you're better off considering that series as a whole, same as, on a lower level, with Children of Dune.) I liked Triton very much. Did not know that Melvin Van Pebbles wrote a novel, will have to check.
― dow, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 17:24 (five months ago) link
A woman in film school the year ahead of me had actually started filming an adaptation of Bear, but I can't find any mention of it online now.
― Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 15 June 2021 21:23 (five months ago) link
everyone i follow online loves speedboat, but i haven't read it yet. not a great dune, not a great robbins iirc
woman on the edge of time is really quite arresting, but voting crews
― mookieproof, Wednesday, 16 June 2021 02:05 (five months ago) link
i think i want to vote for Kiss of the Spiderwoman
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 16 June 2021 02:37 (five months ago) link
Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.
― System, Thursday, 17 June 2021 00:01 (five months ago) link
Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.
― System, Friday, 18 June 2021 00:01 (five months ago) link
Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1977
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 18 June 2021 09:33 (five months ago) link