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Bearotica: Why the 1976 novel 'Bear' is actually a good read

CanLit expert Aritha van Herk on the head-turning Canadian novel about a women and her bear lover.
Why is the internet ablaze over Canadian writer Marian Engel's 1976 novel, Bear? The girl-meets-bear story captured the attention of a new generation after an imgur post about the novel went viral -- and not just because of its retro-racey cover art. 

Fellow novelist and CanLit expert Aritha van Herk speaks with guest host Terry O'Reilly about the renewed interest in the Governor General Award-winning book, how Engel's gripping tale goes beyond bestiality, and why -- despite its wild premise -- Bear could be the quintessential Canadian novel.


Van Herk insists the book is about more than racy scenes with a bear. It's a compelling read, and a national gem.

"She develops an intimate relationship with the bear, in the course of which she discovers who she really is and what is happening inside her own head," she says, 

"In that sense, it's a quintessential Canadian book - where do we go to find out who we really are and what matters to us? We go off into the wilderness."

It isn't just about "getting your rocks off." 

Have you read Bear? That's 1/100 on the CBC Books "100 Novels that make you proud to be Canadian." Click here to see how many others you've read.

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