C. B. Bernard

C. B. Bernard
  • 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.

  • For readers of Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone and David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide, C. B. Bernard’s debut novel shows a father and a daughter fighting toward hope through a traumatic past.

    In the town of Disappointment, Oregon, washed-up boxer Lewis Yaw makes ends meet as a fishing guide. He’s lived a life of violence, but doesn’t understand real strength until he meets Janey, who can see good in even the most damaged things—including him. When she gives birth to their daughter, Grayling, Lewis worries that he’ll mess her up as badly as his father did him. But he also sees a chance to right the wrongs of the past.

    By high school, Gray has become his apprentice guide, his sparring partner, and his pride and joy. Life in their small town is nothing short of challenging—there’s a marauding bear roaming the streets, a rival guide trying to kill Lewis, and a poacher littering deer carcasses along the river—but he is closer to happiness than he ever thought possible. When tragedy strikes, Lewis can’t break free of his past, leaving Gray to fight to save the only thing she has left: her family.