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The Bear Boy By Cynthia Ozick

The Bear Boy
by Cynthia Ozick

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A 1930s story inspired by the real-life Christopher Robin.
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The Bear Boy Summary

The Bear Boy by Cynthia Ozick

The Bear Boy is a story specific to time and place, and about the dislocation of time and place too. It is set in 1935 at the only moment in history when the idea of socialism flickered to life in the United States, when Jewish intellectuals were fleeing out of the country where they were once respected writers and professors, and when a great many people were equal to each other in that the most had little material wealth. The oversize Mitwisser clan are German refugees who survive at the whim of their vagabond benefactor, James Albair. James is heir to the fortune amassed by his father, the author of a wildly popular series of children's books called The Bear Boy. Wayward, feckless and with money to burn, James has taken up the eccentric Mitwissers - scholarly patriach, invalid wife, and five scrappy children - as his latest caprice. Into this chaotic household comes Rose Meadows, orphaned at the age of eighteen. Rose quickly becomes indispensable as assistant to Professor Mitwisser in his research on an arcane sect and then, inevitably, as general nursemaid, nanny and companion to the entire family. Her sole inheritance is a book: the first title in the Bear Boy series.When the actual Bear Boy appears on the Mitwisser doorstep, Rose must resist the pull of his reckless orbit as she pursues her own desires. The Bear Boy evokes Depression-era New York from the perspective of perpetual outsiders. Brought together by coincidence and fate, the hard times they inherit still hold glimmers of past wonders and future dreams.

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The Bear Boy Reviews

"Here are the hallmarks of Ozick's writing: high intelligence linked to consummate technique... The writing is perfectly poised, entirely fresh... a universe of particulars lived intensely, and, against the odds, with love." -- Tom Adair, The Scotsman "THE BEAR BOY is sparky, mischievous, witty, dazzlingly clever, properly dimensional, and written with such calmness so close to the foulness of history as to seem somehow beyond the world, almost mercilessly self-assured. But like all the best fiction, while it knows that books are a necessary refuge, it doesn't once dodge the heresies and complexities of the real." -- Ali Smith The Guardian "Part of this novel's appeal is that it does not fulfil our expectations. What we think will happen doesn't, and entirely unexpected things do. Yet this chance element never seems strained: that is America, then and now." -- George Walden The Sunday Telegraph "minutely embroidered novel" "absolutely has that lived life that a good novel has." -- Tom Sutcliffe Saturday Review (BBC Radio 4) "Starts very seductively, it is I think, a very detailed and interesting and wonderfully character driven portrait of New York." "there's wonderful scenes, extraordinary scenes." -- James Runcie Saturday Review (BBC Radio 4) "A demanding but rewarding novel... curiously compelling." -- Peter Parker, Sunday Times "How does a Jewish family, from a comfortable, intellectual milieu in Berlin, fleeing the Holocaust to settle in North America, cope with displacement, loss of money and status the reinvention of self? " And praises her "greatness and integrity." -- Michele Roberts, The Times "Ozick's narrative is always transparent and lucid but every incident, every shift of power is phatasmagoric... a compelling, zestful and searching novel of the twentieth century." TLS "a lively and compelling book, written with conspicuous beauty." -- Lewis Jones DAILY TELEGRAPH "All of a sudden, there is a buzz about Cynthia Ozick... The Bear Boy has been published with a conviction that looks as if it expects substantial sales. Each character is evoked with loving, pitiless detail in robust and gorgeous prose; each one is ridiculous and tragic, noble and petty... Besides being full of intellectual riches, The Bear Boy is witty and moving; I hope it achieves the success it deserves." -- John de Falbe, The Spectator "[THE BEAR BOY] is an anatomy of melancholy but it is also very funny, and an unbelievably ravishing read> ...We talk of Henry James, the Brontes and George Eliot and I think [THE BEAR BOY] is a tribute to that but it lives in that company." -- Paul Morley, BBC2 Newsnight Review A scintillating novel Mail on Sunday's You magazine "Rich in ideas about culture, family, love, history, luck and death and rippling with weird and wonderful words, this book is impressive." SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY "Ozick's prose has the spark and flow of the writers she alludes to, and she manages to shed fresh light on the immigrant experience... Ozick's inclusion among the contenders for the first Man Booker International Prize is bound to bring her worldwide recognition. An intelligent and dleightful writer, she has taken a familiar voice - that of the plucky orphaned heroine - and reinvented it in a familiar way." New Statesman "Cynthia Ozick is one of the most consistently inventive novelists at work today, and The Bear Boy is as exciting and diverting as anything she has written." -- Paul Bailey Independent "Cynthia Ozick is now in her late seventies and her gifts as a novelist show no signs of diminishing... Ozick tells their story with intelligence and subtlety and skilfully connects it with wider themes of literature and dislocation." FINANCIAL TIMES "darkly whimsical... with a cast of brilliantly individuated characters (not least the beguiling narrator) the novel plays with the big themes: destinies and determinants, identities and futures, imprisonment and escape." JEWISH RENAISSANCE "Only Ozick would or could have written The Bear Boy... certainly a novel of ideas... never choked by the ideas. It remains fluid and lifelike... Ozick has always thought that fiction should have a higher purpose; that as she once put it, "story should not only be but mean." She has allowed The Bear Boy to be as well as to mean." -- Theo Tait LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

About Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick's essays, novels and short stories have won numerous prizes and awards, and her most recent novel was shortlisted for the National Book Award in America

Additional information

The Bear Boy by Cynthia Ozick
Cynthia Ozick
Used - Very Good
Orion Publishing Co
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.