|Digital List Price:||$16.95|
|Print List Price:||$16.95|
Save $6.96 (41%)
Memoirs of a Polar Bear Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 288 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $7.49 when you buy the Kindle book.
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
"Memoirs of a Polar Bear" follows three generations of polar bears as they struggle to find their place among humanity, and as their personal struggles mirror the ongoing turmoil of East Germany during the Cold War. The first part of the book covers a nameless ursine protagonist who grew up in a Russian circus, and after accidentally writing a bestselling memoir must flee first to Germany, then to Canada for her own protection. The second part follows her daughter Tosca, a ballet dancer who joins a German circus after her ballet career is engulfed in controversy. Her story is related by Barbara, an animal trainer who seeks to plot the perfect act for Tosca even as she writes the bear's biography... and finds herself developing a powerful link with the white bear. The third and final part of the book follows Tosca's son Knut, who grows up in a German zoo and is bemused by the controversy surrounding his very existence... and who forms a curious, possibly-supernatural friendship with a human entertainer with his own troubled past.
This book almost reads like three separate novellas by the same author, with slight revisions added later in order to connect them better. I say this because, while each book follows a polar bear struggling to find their place in the human world, the world of each book is vastly different. In the first story the bear lives among humans with little fuss, and is able to talk with fellow humans (in several languages no less) and even weigh in on important issues. In Tosca's story, bears are treated like animals at some times and like fellow humans at others, in accordance to the needs of the plot (the bears can't talk in human languages, but somehow can form unions and go on strike, and Tosca even has a personal manager as if she were an actress). And in Knut's story, he's simply an animal and is treated as such -- except by one other character, whose presence might just be a figment of Knut's imagination. Trying to force all three stories together makes the worlds confusing, as it's never made clear whether this is a world where humans and sentient animals live side by side, or talking and civilized animals are simply one-of-a-kind.
That said, however, this is a powerful novel, one that explores the challenges of being the odd one out in society and in finding one's place in the world, wherever it may be. It also gently explores other powerful issues -- the fall of the Iron Curtain, Germany trying to find its place in the world after the Berlin Wall came down, animal welfare, etc. It even discusses whether it's kinder to raise an orphaned or rejected animal in captivity or to let nature take its course -- and if one's familiar with the story of Knut the polar bear (who was a real-life animal celebrity in Germany), you'll probably be familiar with that controversy, but it's nice to get a creature's perspective on it.
I'm not sure how I feel about the inclusion of Michael Jackson as a character in Knut's story. I'm aware that he's a polarizing figure, and that the author probably wanted to draw parallels between him and Knut (both were troubled figures who were exploited for the gain of others), but including him as a character felt more like an odd gimmick than anything else, especially since it's implied that his presence is somehow supernatural in origin. Still, knowing Michael's eccentricities, he might have been tickled at the inclusion...
While flawed, "Memoirs of a Polar Bear" is an offbeat, unique, and thought-provoking read, and one I'm glad to have experienced. It probably would have worked better as an anthology than as a novel, but I still applaud author Yoko Tawada for giving us an atypical and genre-defying read. It's made me curious about her other work, and I'll have to investigate her other writing soon...
Most recent customer reviews
I think that Kafka would have loved it. I did, and am spreading