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The Bear Went Over the Mountain: A Novel (Owl Book) Paperback – November 15, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
telling of the story almost has you believing that a bear
could actually pull all this off! The hero of the story is
a bear who one day finds a book manuscript hidden in the
back woods of Maine, reads it and thinks its such a
wonderful story that he takes (steals) it to New York city
with the idea of selling it. After adopting an alias (Hal
Jam), he peddles the book around the NY publishing world
and meets many quirky and self absorbed people on his way
to eventually becoming world famous. Throughout the story he
vacillates back and forth between wanting to remain in the
comfortable but strange and "hard to figure out" world of
man - with its unlimited quantities of sweets and women;
and wanting to return to his beloved forest where life is
so much simpler. The plot is very much like the movie "Being
There", except with a slapstick slant. Everyone that the
bear meets reads deep and profound meaning into Hal's
brooding silences and short, out of context statements. It
kept me laughing out loud for two straight days, I can't
remember the last time a book did that to me!
There are sections here where I was literally snorting with laughter, usually in response to the literal-mindedness of the bear's reaction to humans--their mating rituals, the hoarding of food, those things important in life. Like the best fable, Kotzwinkle shows us through his bear character that all of these things we accept so easily are so much more, and also shows us through the human author that the city life is only part of the story.
The methodology of the tale is ultra-fantastic, even "magic realism" if you will. Kotzwinkle constantly reminds us that the bear is a bear, even as he becomes more human-like (and vice versa for the author turned woodsman). It resembles Carol Emshwiller's Carmen Dog in this manner--the animals may speak, but there's still a difference between them and humans. The satire resembles Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire" (you could say this is "Bears Discover Publishing") in that it juxtaposes the raw nature of the beast with the civilized society. As much as I admire Bisson's story, I think Kotzwinkle out-does him, basically just by being able to extend the conceit for an entire novel. This is highly recommended to fans of realist fantasy and humorous works in general.
Outrageous premise of a man who writes The Great American Novel, loses the manuscript in the woods, and becomes so depressed that he goes into hibernation and becomes beast-like. The flip side of the equation, the part that makes this book a dangerous one to read in bed beside a sleeping mate, is that the manuscript is found by a bear who manages to sell it on a trip to New York. The bear is courted by NY's best and finest celebs, and he impresses reviewers, agents, and editors with his hyper-intelligent and deeply moving monosyllabic grunts and one-word responses to interview questions.
But the parts that'll make your trying-to-sleep spouse want to kill you are the love scenes between the bear and the object of his affection, a 'fur-bearing woman,' (a lady who doesn't shave her legs).
Don't miss it. Buy two, and give one to your favorite quirky friend.
Herein lies the Kotzwinkle Perplex. This terrific talent is still relatively unknown and unacknowledged in the publishing world, based on an analysis of his past books. BEAR is in part the sardonic answer. Today, as most thoughtful readers and writers know, celebrity and notoriety are the keys to the publishing kingdom, in an industry where editors are given sales quotas they must meet (or be fired) and where John Walker Lindh, Monica and Denise Rich are considered actual or potential 'great writers' merely because of their dubious 'achievements.'
Hal Jam and Kotzwinkle know these truths and trade on them playfully, but with an edge. That's why this is such a fine and surprising book and why more people should read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I hated it and didn't finish it. Weird, unbelievable and not worth reading,Published 4 days ago by Ann H Beale
One of the two most hilarious books I've ever read. Kotzwinkle is amazing for the variety of plots and styles he exhibits.Published 5 days ago by Riverside Reader
This book was a complete surprise for me once I started reading it. I found the story to be fascinating, and the two main characters to both be completely likable even with the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dani Maupin
I read this book years ago, had to get a copy to share. One of the funniest stories ever!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of my favorite books and I liked it so much I wanted my own copy. It's just a fun read about a bear living in human society. Read morePublished 5 months ago by M
I reread this novel whenever I want to feel better about life and all its absurdities. I have loaned so many copies that never came back to me that I now keep a stock of them to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by S. Daniel
this book is funny and cute with a good plot. The two main charchters are very well done as well,i would defentily recomend this book.Published 12 months ago by racherl rosner
A wonderful comedy, sprinkled with bitting satire. An excellent read for anyone needing a strong dose of humor.Published 13 months ago by Gerald L. Johnson
A zany comedy that took lots of imagination to create. Good for many laughs.Published 16 months ago by Jenifer Duddy