"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
), "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)