Ordinary Bear : A Novel

C. B. Bernard

Phil Thron (Narrator)

04-02-24

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Literary

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04-02-24

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Literary

Description

“Set against the icy terrain of an Alaskan village and Portland’s seamy underworld, C. B. Bernard’s latest novel is both an unexpected detective story and, truly, a shattering exploration of what we struggle to do to save others—and to redeem and save ourselves. Ordinary Bear is, well…extraordinary.” Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

Dark and humorous, literary but with the heart of a detective novel, Ordinary Bear weighs the burden of grief while exploring our boundless capacity for humanity, kindness, and hope.

Farley stands out among his Iñupiat neighbors in the Alaska village he calls home, both white and enormous, like the hungry polar bears that wander its streets. Jovial and a little hapless, he works as an investigator for a North Slope oil company, passing the long Arctic winters drinking whiskey with the village’s preacher and playing in the weekly poker game hosted by its matriarch and mayor.

When his young daughter visits from thousands of miles away in Portland—where she lives with her mother, who despises him—a shocking moment of violence leaves her dead and Farley injured. Crippled by his wounds and hamstrung with guilt over his inability to save her, he goes home to Oregon to try to make amends.

There he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a single mother and her daughter. With their help, he begins the slow process of healing—until the girl goes missing. Faced with the opportunity to do what he couldn’t do for his own daughter, Farley sets out on a brutal odyssey through Portland’s quirky and dangerous underworld, using his wits and his fists to try to save her life along with the shattered remains of his own.

Praise

“Set against the icy terrain of an Alaskan village and Portland’s seamy underworld, C. B. Bernard’s latest novel is both an unexpected detective story and, truly, a shattering exploration of what we struggle to do to save others—and to redeem and save ourselves. Ordinary Bear is, well…extraordinary.” Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

“From its opening pages, Ordinary Bear grips readers so tightly they’re barely able to breathe. Bernard has built a ferocious yet tender story on the stark allure of the Alaskan landscape; Portland, Oregon’s eclectic energy; the mythology of bears; and the profound depths of the human soul. Rich, dense, and beautifully written, Ordinary Bear is a testament to the power of storytelling…and Bernard’s immense talent.” Kristin Bair, author of Agatha Arch Is Afraid of Everything

“This is no ordinary bear. It is more of a teddy bear of a book that you want to curl up with, racing through the pages as the characters struggle to save a child.” Audrey Schulman, author of The Dolphin House, Three Weeks in December, and The Cage

“A hero’s journey unlike any I’ve ever read—strange, harrowing, and funnier than it has any right to be. In Ordinary Bear, you’ll follow grief-laden Farley through the seedy underbelly of Portland, rooting for him to complete his redemptive quest and, in the process, find a way to forgive himself. A heartfelt page-turner I can’t recommend highly enough.” C. Matthew Smith, author of Twentymile

“Ordinary Bear is a masterful tapestry of resilience and atonement, skillfully intertwining its characters’ lives. It plunges the reader into the tumultuous sea of grief, its destructive force as surprising in its course as it is poignant in its impact. This book is as immediate, painful, and tender as a fresh wound. It hurt to put it down. Also great is the sharp and precise prose that makes up every paragraph of this book. It’s written with a blend of wit, vulnerability, and danger that makes the experience of reading it as exhilarating as it is profound. Bernard possesses a remarkable flair for writing characters with whom we’d travel to hell and back, which is great because that’s exactly where he sends them. If any of Richard Russo’s characters had cracked ribs and chipped teeth, they’d be C. B. Bernard’s characters.” Adam J. Shafer, author of Never Walk Back

“There’s nothing ordinary about Ordinary Bear. In this propulsive novel, C. B. Bernard pits some of the fiercest things around—famished polar bears, ecological collapse, savage inequality—against the awesome power of a father’s love. This timely novel kept me up late, made me laugh, and broke my heart. I can’t wait to see what Bernard does next.” Diane Josefowicz, author of L’Air du Temps (1985)

“Ordinary Bear is a dark, comic, and soulful crime story. C. B. Bernard has a keen eye for the details of misery and redemption, whether in the far-flung villages of the Arctic or the eccentric backstreets of Portland, Oregon. This novel is deeply moving and exciting to read.” John Straley, Shamus Award–winning author of the Cecil Younger and Cold Storage, Alaska novels

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Details
More Information
Language English
Release Day Apr 1, 2024
Release Date April 2, 2024
Release Date Machine 1712016000
Imprint Blackstone Publishing
Provider Blackstone Publishing
Categories Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Literary Fiction, Small Town & Rural, City Life, Friendship, Urban, Coming Soon
Author Bio
C. B. Bernard

C. B. Bernard is the author of the novel Small Animals Caught in Traps and Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now, a Publishers Weekly and National Geographic top pick and finalist for the Oregon Book Award in nonfiction. His fiction and essays have appeared in Catapult, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and elsewhere. Though he called Alaska and Oregon home for much of his life, he now lives on the coast of Rhode Island’s South County with his wife, Kim, a retriever named Nessie, and the ghosts of a couple of dogs.

Narrator Bio

Overview

Dark and humorous, literary but with the heart of a detective novel, Ordinary Bear weighs the burden of grief while exploring our boundless capacity for humanity, kindness, and hope.

Farley stands out among his Iñupiat neighbors in the Alaska village he calls home, both white and enormous, like the hungry polar bears that wander its streets. Jovial and a little hapless, he works as an investigator for a North Slope oil company, passing the long Arctic winters drinking whiskey with the village’s preacher and playing in the weekly poker game hosted by its matriarch and mayor.

When his young daughter visits from thousands of miles away in Portland—where she lives with her mother, who despises him—a shocking moment of violence leaves her dead and Farley injured. Crippled by his wounds and hamstrung with guilt over his inability to save her, he goes home to Oregon to try to make amends.

There he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a single mother and her daughter. With their help, he begins the slow process of healing—until the girl goes missing. Faced with the opportunity to do what he couldn’t do for his own daughter, Farley sets out on a brutal odyssey through Portland’s quirky and dangerous underworld, using his wits and his fists to try to save her life along with the shattered remains of his own.