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Big, Furry Asymmetrical Balls
July 9, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

"Bear", she cried, "I love you. Pull my head off." In 1976, the prestigeous Governor General's Literary Award went to Canada's arguably most controversial book: "Bear", by Marian Engel, describes a woman's "journey towards inner freedom and strength", via her erotic relationship with...a bear.

Not a were-bear, mind you. An actual bear.
And while the bestiality genre includes far more titillating creatures such as Bigfoot, Minotaur and dinosaurs, (previously), "Bear" has the distinction of having made it into the Canadian literary canon and being taught in college courses.

"Bear" is no mere bestseller, and Engel herself was no harlequin hack. Hers is the biography of an accomplished novelist and public figure:
From her eclectic output that includes children's books, novels, travel books and short stories, to her correspondence and friendship with authors like Hugh MacLennan, Robertson Davies, Dennis Lee, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley and Alice Munro; and her public career: She was first chair of the Writer’s Union of Canada, and eventually became officer of the Order of Canada. After her death in 1985 the Writer's Development Trust of Canada instituted the $10 000 Marian Engel Award for a female writer in mid career. It was awarded in this form until 2007.

Download link for "Bear" (link functionality not verified, proceed at your own peril)
Amazon link
posted by Omnomnom (112 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
je refuse
posted by elizardbits at 1:09 PM on July 9 [17 favorites]


GO HOME 1976 CANADA YOU ARE DRUNK
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:14 PM on July 9 [47 favorites]


I was talking about this earlier and had to explain I wasn't talking about big, burly, hairy dudes, I was talking about actual bears.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:17 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


So ...it was literally about a bear and maiden fair?
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on July 9 [24 favorites]


the review
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:20 PM on July 9


[NOT BACULUMIST]
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:21 PM on July 9


Approved by House Mormont.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:21 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


I was talking about this earlier

Not to pry, but how in the holy hell did this come up in casual conversation before you read the FPP?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:22 PM on July 9 [11 favorites]


You made out with a bear! Undo it, undo it!
posted by adipocere at 1:22 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


WHO IS DRIVING? OH NO BEAR IS DRIVING! HOW CAN THAT BE?

Wow, talk about a weird blast from the past. I had a Lit-major friend in college (ca. 1998) who took a Canadian Fiction course that included "Bear" on the syllabus. He loaned it out to a bunch of people on our floor, and for a brief time it caused a mini "Bear"-mania in the dorm. I never got around to reading it myself, but I might have to give it a try now that it's in ebook form.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:22 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


... Whoa.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:22 PM on July 9


Previously?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:22 PM on July 9


how in the holy hell did this come up in casual conversation

tumblr

alas
posted by elizardbits at 1:23 PM on July 9 [12 favorites]


I read this a couple of years ago!

(it... just came up in conversation! obviously I had to read it.)

It's good. Weird. But good.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 1:23 PM on July 9


Upon further review, I'm intrigued. The goodreads page for Bear has some pretty helpful reviews/explanations for why this is a notable book in the Canadian literary canon.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:24 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


I kinda want to see what other finalists were that year, but unfortunately the Canada Council for the Arts site only lists them back to 1979 (pdf). The full list of GG winners is here, allowing you to personally verify that, yes, this actually won the most prestigious Canadian literary award in 1976.
posted by figurant at 1:25 PM on July 9


I saw it on Imgur before Tumblr but elizardbits is correct in that "internet" way.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:26 PM on July 9


GO HOME 1976 CANADA YOU ARE DRUNK

Has anyone investigated whether perhaps the maple syrup got a little fermented that year? It would explain things.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:28 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Forgive my ignorance, but...

There's a bestiality genre?
posted by tommasz at 1:32 PM on July 9


Probably more like 10 or 20 subgenres...
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 1:34 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


yes. Here's a goodreads selection.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:34 PM on July 9


Hello, link I won't be clicking.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:35 PM on July 9 [15 favorites]


BEAR IS DRIVING
posted by Drexen at 1:35 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Damnit, that was funny before the edit.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:36 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


My amazon recommendations just got a whole lot more interesting!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:36 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Let us keep in mind that this was the year that Timbits were introduced and the CN tower was opened. Clearly we had some strange genital preoccupations at the time.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:37 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


Damnit, that was funny before the edit.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:36


I'm very sorry! I was all "oh no, my clarifying remark got lost, better correct it fast!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:37 PM on July 9


GO HOME 1976 CANADA YOU ARE DRUNK

I blame the liter carafes at Mother's Pizza.
posted by srboisvert at 1:37 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Forgive my ignorance, but...

There's a bestiality genre?


Rule 34.

And, perhaps, 46, depending on your ruleset.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:37 PM on July 9


Omnomnom: “And while the bestiality genre includes far more titillating creatures such as Bigfoot, Minotaur and dinosaurs...”

I can see how those creatures are perhaps more "titillating" in the sense that they're more fanciful or strange, but their nonexistence (or longtime extinction) actually makes them much less titillating as objects of fanciful shipbuilding.

A story about a person having sex with a crazy space-lion with four heads and a diamond-encrusted tail? Pretty weird, I guess, but not generally likely to upset me or bother me deeply, depending (I guess) on how the story's told.

A story about a person having sex with a golden Labrador retriever named Bob? Gross, wrong, probably angry-making, and probably more so if it really gets into detail.

Bears? Bears are an interesting case, I guess. They're just far enough removed from my everyday life that I guess I can say they're exotic, but I've seen them before, and I'm aware that they live not too far from where I live. Still quite uneasy-making, really.
posted by koeselitz at 1:37 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


OH MY WORD THIS BOOK. A friend of mine is writing on this book for her dissertation, and the librarian apparently NON-CONSENSUALLY has sex with the bear. I mean, what.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:40 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Popular pickup lines for scoring with bears:

1) "What's ur sine?"

2) ...
posted by taz at 1:41 PM on July 9 [88 favorites]


Why... why did she want the bear to pull her head off
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:41 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


NON-CONSENSUALLY has sex with the bear.

That's one hell of a typo right thar
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:41 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


So, does anyone own the movie rights to this?
posted by dortmunder at 1:42 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Convicted Felon and Cheney BFF Scooter Libby also wrote a book about bears.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:43 PM on July 9


a fiendish thingy: “A friend of mine is writing on this book for her dissertation, and the librarian apparently NON-CONSENSUALLY has sex with the bear. I mean, what.”

Uh, the librarian in the book, you mean? I hope? Please don't let it be the department librarian helping her with her research or something
posted by koeselitz at 1:43 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Like, she didn't consent? Or the bear didn't consent?

Can the bear meet the legal requirements for consent?

I definitely did not consent to this.
posted by obfuscation at 1:44 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]


and I think hoping that that's a "typo" is probably woefully naive
posted by koeselitz at 1:44 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Ghostride The Whip: "I saw it on Imgur before Tumblr "

I saw it on Imgur, but I swear Chris Hardwick joked about this on @Midnight several weeks ago
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:46 PM on July 9


At least one of the reviews suggests that "Bear" is an allegory for attempting to find love in the face of social and physical isolation. In contrast, I suspect a fair bit of amazon monster erotica is primarily about the monster schlong and pretend non-con.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:50 PM on July 9


> I suspect a fair bit of amazon monster erotica is primarily about the monster schlong and pretend non-con

Yeah, that would be good but no.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:54 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


(Know what's great? Mr Corpse and I share an Amazon account, and he's on his account all day long at work for work-related reasons with co-workers looking at his screen with him, and now that's going to show up as "recently viewed." You're welcome, sweetie!)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:55 PM on July 9 [29 favorites]


This sounds kinda great. There aren't any rules in fiction. There are no taboos that shouldn't be explored.
posted by naju at 1:56 PM on July 9


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
When Alfred Fatigay returns to his native London, he brings along his trustworthy pet chimpanzee Emily who, unbeknownst to Fatigay, has become civilized: literate, literary--and in love with Fatigay himself. After Emily meets Alfred’s fiancée Amy Flint, a 1920’s “modern woman,” she sets out to save her beloved from Amy’s cold grip.
So OK, been a genre since at least the 1930s then.
posted by Theta States at 2:00 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


naju: “This sounds kinda great. There aren't any rules in fiction. There are no taboos that shouldn't be explored.”

All taboos should be explored? Like, as a moral imperative?
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on July 9


There is enough money to be made in the Weird Bestial Sex genre of self-published literature that I've been tempted to put my English degree to good use at times.

But this novel having won the Governor General's Literary Award makes me hesitate, as it sets a very high bar. I'm pretty sure I'll never reach those heights in interspecies erotica, especially as I'm not Canadian.

The alternative would be to go completely lowbrow, and while I'm sure I could manage that, rejection of my work would be a fatal blow to my professional ego. "Well, I've reviewed your novel, and while your use of metaphor and your phrasing are good, your knowledge of narwhal anatomy is suspect and J. Taylor pretty much said it all in that genre with 'The Tusk Flashed At Midnight'..."
posted by delfin at 2:01 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


This used to be a staple of the rotating book trollies at the front of paperback-heavy bookstores like Waldenbooks. For some years, I think.

It didn't really seem all that weird at the time. In those days, your racy erotica was right out there in softbound form, not squirrelled away on the internets ghetto.
posted by dhartung at 2:06 PM on July 9


All taboos should be explored? Like, as a moral imperative?

Absolutely. #YesAllTaboos
posted by naju at 2:08 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


I'm trying to view this in some kind of literary light
but all I can think about from my own knowledge of bears
is that bears have a bone in their penis

then I start thinking about bear penis bone fossils (aka baculum)
and how big they got during the Miocene

then I start wondering about fossil testicles and pondering how big and furry they must have been


plz I want to stop thinking about this
posted by barchan at 2:10 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that would be good but no.

how is werehedgehog made
posted by PMdixon at 2:11 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]




Harvard has five different editions of this. Subject headings:

Women archivists -- Fiction.
Bears -- Fiction.
Human-animal relationships -- Fiction.
Ontario, Northern -- Fiction.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:20 PM on July 9 [14 favorites]


First, thank god this post exists because I too saw this on tumblr last night right before I went to bed, and then after I had tucked in, I had to summon my phone because I decided that it was fake and I had fallen for it. I found the Amazon and wikipedia pages and was satisfied enough that it was, somewhat unbelievably, real enough to go to bed. I also sent myself a note to maybe see if there was enough out there to make a post about it here (because I had also done a search on Metafilter to see if such a post existed because "how could it not if it is truly real?" felt like the reaction at the time.)

Second, though I'm not about to bust this paperback open and its seeming having any mainstream popularity seems unbelievable to me, fuck yeah Marian Engel and her bear-scrotum-juggling librarian character.

Don't get me wrong - I will mine this for jokes 10000% and appreciate anyone here doing so, but I am also truly behind letting one's fictional freak flag fly until your proverbial menstrual fever gets all the assiduous attention it needs. Or whatever.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:22 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Bear is an excellent, smart, well-written book; it's also completely arresting and memorable for obvious reasons. It completely deserves its place in the CanLit canon and its literary awards and plaudits, though. It isn't pulp or trash in any way.

In my experience, sex in Canadian Literature is usually conspicuous either for its weirdness or for its absence; this isn't so much an outlier as it is a particularly striking example of a fairly well-established pattern.
posted by erlking at 2:24 PM on July 9 [12 favorites]


I do not remember Kate Beaton covering this.
posted by maryr at 2:27 PM on July 9 [19 favorites]


Here's the original Tumblr post that is screencapped in the first Imgur link in the OP. It's from July 2nd, so people who follow tumbling things might have been talking about this a week ago.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:32 PM on July 9


I just have to say that we were talking about this earlier on Twitter and the subject of the were-hedgehog came up. Of course. I mean, what conversation about Candian literature does not include the were-hedgehog? Snerk. Anyway, when I went to google the were-hedgehog, feeling that perhaps this were thing was going too far and my leg was being pulled, THIS is the amazingly appropriate image that appeared.

dhartung, do not fear. Soft core porn is alive and well in printed and, ahem, bound form and you can even get it used, argh, yes: the bookstore where I work does a brisk trade in same.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:32 PM on July 9


"You don't come here for the hunting, do you?"
posted by benzenedream at 2:36 PM on July 9 [13 favorites]


Ah, yes, Alex, I'll take "CHILDHOOD DISCOVERIES IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY THAT SCARRED ME FOR LIFE" for $500 please.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:36 PM on July 9 [17 favorites]


This makes my historical confusion of this author with Madeline L'Engle much more potentially fraught.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:38 PM on July 9 [9 favorites]


"Why Winnie, sir?"

"From my hometown, Winnipeg."
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Poet/novelist Jim Harrison claims that eating fresh bear meat often results in vivid dreams of participating in bear sex. He also admits it's really, really scary, and he had to give up eating bear because of the dreams.
posted by valkane at 2:43 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Well, it managed to briefly spice up grade 13 Can Lit.

Thank you Jen G.'s risquee presentation.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 2:48 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


"You're really not here for the hunting, are you?"
posted by Spatch at 2:49 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


This makes my historical confusion of this author with Madeline L'Engle much more potentially fraught. Hmmm do you know what L'Engle's The Arm of the Starfish is about?

valkane, I've dined on bear meat a few times. It's one of the greasiest, gamiest foods I've ever tasted. There's a reason why Pa in the Little House books uses bear grease to style his hair. I don't recall it giving me bear sex dreams, though - which I'm pretty sure I would remember.

In my neck of the woods a reallllly popular way of bear hunting is with bait traps of dead beaver. I'm not joking, but the jokes, they write themselves.
posted by barchan at 2:51 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


barchan, what can I say but, "sometimes you eat the bar....."
posted by valkane at 2:54 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I've got a copy of this somewhere. Never did get around to reading it, though. Not sure why, not with such standout passages as:

"Her fishy friend came up the stairs. His tongue bent vertically and he put it up her cunt. A note fell out of the book: The offspring of a woman and a bear is a hero, with the strength of a bear and the cleverness of a man - Old Finnish Legend. She cried with joy.”
posted by kafziel at 3:04 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I used to live a block away from Marian Engel, but one weird fan had my address instead of hers. Every once in a while we would these bizarre fan letters with strange photocopy art of impaled popes and other disturbing things.

Why did we open them rather than pass them on? The envelopes were quite arty in a manic kind of way and we were in art school. We had a hunch Ms. Engels was not missing these creepy missives.

The last one had a joint in it which we eventually smoked.
posted by KS at 3:46 PM on July 9 [15 favorites]


Mr Corpse and I share an Amazon account, and he's on his account all day long at work for work-related reasons with co-workers looking at his screen with him, and now that's going to show up as "recently viewed." You're welcome, sweetie!

Now I want to play that game where everyone gives corpse in the library Amazon links to click on for the sole purpose of making her husband's coworkers talk about him behind his back.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:55 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


"Ah, yes, Alex, I'll take "CHILDHOOD DISCOVERIES IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY THAT SCARRED ME FOR LIFE" for $500 please."

Makes the book on lesbian nuns in our library seem almost quaint.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:02 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Does the Queen automatically get a copy?
posted by Bwithh at 4:03 PM on July 9


Now I want to play that game where everyone gives corpse in the library Amazon links to click on for the sole purpose of making her husband's coworkers talk about him behind his back.

50 GALLON DRUM OF LUBE
posted by elizardbits at 4:03 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


Not a typo, and the librarian is the fictional main character in the book, who (I have been told, during repeated discussions of the book) lures the bear into her house and inflicts sexual acts upon him. I believe at some point he finally responds with violence?

Graduate study: a world of discovery.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 4:05 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I haven't read this book since the Controversy, but remember thinking at the time that it was startlingly beautiful and odd and wonderful. Whether I would think that again some 35 years later? It's quite possible.
posted by jokeefe at 4:35 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I love this book. I love how smart it is about Canadian culture. I mean it's the 70s and the 70s were weird, but the bear fucking became this allegory about nationhood, and information, and science and identity and taxonomy, and all of that.

The protagnist goes up to the woods of Northern Ontario--a place that is thought to be wild, and investigates a 19th century house, trying to turn it into a museum or library, and she begins reading local histories--diaries.

She encounters a bear, and is at first afraid of it, but as she becomes wilder, and the bear becomes tamer, they meet in the middle. This was a few years after Atwood's Surrivial, and in the midst of a number of urban novels, and the reclaiming of Moodie's journals about roughing it in the bush, and no one quite knew what Canadian identity means.

The sex is radial, transformative, and beautifually written. It's not porn, and it is in its own way a completely decentralziing and radically renewing text about what it means to live in Canada, and what the history of Canadian identity could be.

I mean the haha kind of tumblr scandal is kind of frustrating, because of how it has been marketed. But it is much closer to Gunter Grass' the Flounder than the T Rex POD work.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:40 PM on July 9 [23 favorites]


i also haven't read it in a few years
posted by PinkMoose at 4:43 PM on July 9


Discussion about this book reminds me of Rafi Zabor's The Bear Comes Home, which also has a bear that has sex with women in it. He's also a jazz musician.
posted by box at 5:30 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Okay, I'm sold. I'm definitely going to download and read this.
posted by obfuscation at 5:36 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed to find that the The Onion article "Bear Attacks, Rapes Zookeeper" (link is to a text version) isn't available on the site anymore :^(

also lol the German title of The Flounder is Der Butt.
posted by Small Dollar at 5:54 PM on July 9


Ontario, Northern -- Fiction.

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to... Bear.
posted by argonauta at 7:31 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Heh. I found this book (and read parts of it) on my parents' bookshelf when I was about 12 years old. Amongst other questionable books. My mom claims she bought a lot of those books in bulk from yard sales and didn't know what she was getting. I'm not sure I believe her, but anyway, thanks for the freaky flashback.
posted by jenh526 at 7:54 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


My mom claims she bought a lot of those books in bulk from yard sales and didn't know what she was getting. I'm not sure I believe her

This was the same explanation I got when I found a copy of "Open Marriage" at my grandma's house.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:07 PM on July 9 [5 favorites]


All taboos should be explored? Like, as a moral imperative?

Prime Directive, Omega Directive, Directive 34
posted by XMLicious at 10:51 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


All taboos should be explored. Failure to explore taboos is therefore taboo. We must explore that taboo. Therefore, we must not explore taboos.
posted by Segundus at 12:42 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


If we're talking serious literary bestialism, Olaf Stapledon's Sirius should get a hat-tip.
posted by Segundus at 12:43 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Dammit, I did look for other sexy beast examples, but they're surprisingly hard to find.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:27 AM on July 10


You should be looking under gay romances, there are a vast and terrible plethora of quasi-bestial shapeshifter gay romances

i wish to god i had remained ignorant of this phenomena my entire life but no, my friends are ruiners who ruin lives
posted by elizardbits at 6:14 AM on July 10


Yeah, there's plenty of shape shifters. But I couldn't find normal animals. Perhaps for the reason Koselitz mentions.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:33 AM on July 10


The sex is radial

I admit I prefer old school bias-ply sex.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:31 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I used to live a block away from Marian Engel, but one weird fan had my address instead of hers. Every once in a while we would these bizarre fan letters with strange photocopy art of impaled popes and other disturbing things.

Was there a town called Pontypool just down the road?
posted by Ber at 7:41 AM on July 10


If we're talking serious literary bestialism, Olaf Stapledon's Sirius should get a hat-tip.

There's also a short story by Leigh Kennedy called "Her Furry Face" which is a really arresting story - it's about an animal behaviorist working with two orangutans who've been taught sign language, a male and a female, and they're finding that the female is really intellectually advanced, to the point that they've occasionally been able to publish poems she's written.

And the scientist's marriage is kind of on the rocks, and he starts getting closer to the female orangutan, to the point that one day he just kind of gets caught up in the heat of an emotional moment and mounts her for a couple seconds. It's only a couple seconds before he snaps out of it and realizes firstly that Oh my god this is insane, but that also, secondly....the orangutan is really, really freaked out. As in...she's perceiving this as a rape. And the last couple scenes she's acting profoundly traumatized.

It kind of turns the whole "the animal is willing or doesn't know any better" convention on its head, and also says things about how traumatizing unconsentual sex among humans is as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I am reminded of a long, baffling conversation with a coworker who had just read Lobster and needed to tell me all about it.
posted by darchildre at 8:41 AM on July 10


I don't know what it says about me that the most baffling part of the Lobster blurb is that it is from a series of "short European fiction which can be read from cover to cover on a short flight." That's so specific. DO NOT READ ON BUS.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:53 AM on July 10


I am reminded of a long, baffling conversation with a coworker who had just read Lobster and needed to tell me all about it.

And to tie it back to Canada, that could have been Lester the Lobster. From PEI.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:28 AM on July 10


Can the bear meet the legal requirements for consent?

Nope. As Her Imperial Majesty alluded to, animals are incapable of forming sexual consent with humans.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 AM on July 10


Its not an actual animal, but in "The Colloghi Conspiracy" by Douglas Hill, the main character has sex with a furry alien woman. This is after taking some drug that makes him horny and able to have pretty much continuous sex for 3 days. Honestly, it was right at the end too, the uh, climax of the book, so to speak.
posted by marienbad at 10:10 AM on July 10


There's also a short story by Leigh Kennedy called "Her Furry Face" which is a really arresting story - it's about an animal behaviorist working with two orangutans who've been taught sign language, a male and a female, and they're finding that the female is really intellectually advanced, to the point that they've occasionally been able to publish poems she's written.

And the scientist's marriage is kind of on the rocks, and he starts getting closer to the female orangutan, to the point that one day he just kind of gets caught up in the heat of an emotional moment and mounts her for a couple seconds. It's only a couple seconds before he snaps out of it and realizes firstly that Oh my god this is insane, but that also, secondly....the orangutan is really, really freaked out. As in...she's perceiving this as a rape. And the last couple scenes she's acting profoundly traumatized.

It kind of turns the whole "the animal is willing or doesn't know any better" convention on its head, and also says things about how traumatizing unconsentual sex among humans is as well.


Should've worked with bonobos instead.
posted by kafziel at 10:49 AM on July 10


i do love that mefi has a collection of ready beastality references on hand
posted by PinkMoose at 11:39 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


The Best(iality) of the Web
posted by zombieflanders at 11:43 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


i do love that mefi has a collection of ready beastality references on hand

And this is just the classy literary stuff.
posted by kafziel at 1:44 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Joe Ollmann was invited by fellow cartoonist Seth to illustrate several pages of Bear for Canadian Notes & Queries. You can see one page of his adaptation in his diary for the Paris Review Daily.
posted by zbsachs at 2:29 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I've been looking for a copy of this for a couple of years after learning about it and seeing reviews praising it as a wonderful story. I'm not sure how human-ursine coitus improves a book, but I'll see.

Apparently I'm the only one who has gone to the download page and scrolled to the bottom. There are two comments there. The second one, from "Steve," is the typically bland, "The best book I've ever read." The first one, from "Anna," says: "Good book. Very useful, thanks for it!"

And somewhere, a woman is stalking a bear for immoral purposes.
posted by bryon at 9:32 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


BTW, my antivirus software is going nuts when I try to get the password to open either the PDF or EPUB versions of the download. ESET hasn't failed me yet, so I'm not trying past the point of sweet reasonableness.

The human-ursine coitus will have to wait for another opportunity.
posted by bryon at 9:39 PM on July 10


>>Can the bear meet the legal requirements for consent?

>Nope. As Her Imperial Majesty alluded to, animals are incapable of forming sexual consent with humans.


This pair comments reads very differently when you misread "consent" as "consort".
posted by maryr at 11:36 AM on July 11


"i do love that mefi has a collection of ready beastality references on hand"
posted by PinkMoose

Perfect!
posted by marienbad at 8:44 AM on July 13


koeselitz: "All taboos should be explored? Like, as a moral imperative?"

Please, the only moral imperative is getting revenge on Dr. Hathaway.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:50 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]




u r welcom
posted by elizardbits at 8:59 PM on July 30


RandomHouse.ca discusses the book (Sara Bynoe) and commissioned five alternative covers.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:51 PM on August 3


Oh. My. Fish sticks.
posted by maryr at 8:43 PM on August 3


elizardbits is a bad person who should feel bad. So are cuttlefish apparently
posted by PMdixon at 5:48 AM on August 5


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