Bear: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Bear: A Novel By Julia Phillips Cover Image
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July 2024 Indie Next List

Bear is a haunting novel set on a remote island off the Pacific Northwest coast. Two sisters dream of a better life off the island, when a strange bear appears and changes their lives. This story, fairy tale, allegory, will stay with you.”
— Elyse Adler, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN


NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the celebrated author of Disappearing Earth comes a tale of family, obsession, and a mysterious creature in the woods—“a mesmerizing story about hope, sisterhood, and survival with a truly shocking twist at the end” (People, Book of the Week).


One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Summer: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, People, Vulture, Elle, Bustle, LitHub, Parade, Publishers Weekly, Electric Lit, WBEZ Chicago

“Thrilling and propulsive, glorious and terrifying. Julia Phillips is a brilliant writer.”—Ann Patchett

“Beautiful and haunting . . . this is brilliant.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

They were sisters and they would last past the end of time.

Sam and Elena dream of another life. On the island off the coast of Washington where they were born and raised, they and their mother struggle to survive. Sam works on the ferry that delivers wealthy mainlanders to their vacation homes while Elena bartends at the local golf club, but even together they can’t earn enough to get by, stirring their frustration about the limits that shape their existence.

Then one night on the boat, Sam spots a bear swimming the dark waters of the channel. Where is it going? What does it want? When the bear turns up by their home, Sam, terrified, is more convinced than ever that it’s time to leave the island. But Elena responds differently to the massive beast. Enchanted by its presence, she throws into doubt the desire to escape and puts their long-held dream in danger.

A story about the bonds of sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals that live among us—and within us—Bear is a propulsive, mythical, richly imagined novel from one of the most acclaimed young writers in America.

About the Author

Julia Phillips is the bestselling author of the novel Disappearing Earth, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year. A 2024 Guggenheim fellow, she lives with her family in Brooklyn.

Praise For…

“A bold and brilliant modern fable of sisterhood, class, and our relationship to the natural world.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Mythical and enchanting, Phillips’s second novel delves into sisterhood and the mysteries of the animals that live among—and within—us all.”Oprah Daily (One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2024)

“This mythical novel of obsession, moral reckoning, and aspiration glows with fairy tale magic.”The Boston Globe

“As in Disappearing Earth, it’s Phillips’ mastery of the world she’s created that firmly roots the reader inside these characters’ psyches—and their story.”San Francisco Chronicle

Bear may remind readers of Alice Hoffman’s fantasy-flecked novels, and Phillips sprinkles around the fairy dust liberally in some sections. But she’s actually working closer to the realm of Henry James’s ‘Turn of the Screw,’ in which the central character blankets the story with her distorting anxieties.”The Washington Post

“Julia Phillips has my complete attention.”—Ann Patchett, author of Tom Lake

“There is something unsettling and uncanny about Julia Phillips’s wondrous second book, less a novel than a fairy tale for the strange times in which we live.”—Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind

“Julia Phillips’s rare and marvelous new novel weaves fairy-tale magic into a story of sisterhood, daughterhood, care, and devotion. Building with quiet fury to its astonishing ending, Bear will capture your heart and mind. I read in a state of wonder.”—Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers

Bear is magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and humane. It is the most moving, most accomplished work of fiction I’ve read in ages.”—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“Intense, moody, fierce, and relentlessly suspenseful, Bear is a modern-day fairy tale about the tenacious bonds and complexities of sisterhood.”—Angie Kim, author of Happiness Falls

“In this haunting fable of two sisters determined to steer their own destiny, Julia Phillips evokes the unsettling ways in which the wilder forces of the world around us will never allow us to tame them. I was spellbound.”—Julia Glass, author of Three Junes

Bear is the brutal cage of the real world and the magical animal within—a book of untamed, glorious, abundant interpretations.”—Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning

“I read Bear in one night and I am speechless.”—Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee

Bear takes us to a wild, captivating place, just as Phillips did in her debut, Disappearing Earth.”—Bookpage

“Phillips is brilliant at balancing sharply drawn characters with finely woven plot and unnerving atmosphere.”—Lit Hub

“An enchanting modern-day fairy tale set off the coast of Washington State.”—Alta Journal

“A page-turner that’s full of insightful writing.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525520436
ISBN-10: 0525520430
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English