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Louisa Meets Bear: Stories
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Published:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015
Status:
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Description

When Louisa and Bear meet at Princeton in 1975, sparks fly. Louisa is the sexually adventurous daughter of a geneticist, Bear the volatile son of a plumber. They dive headfirst into a passionate affair that will alter the course of their lives, changing how they define themselves in the years and relationships that follow. Lisa Gornick's Louisa Meets Bear is a gripping novel in interconnected stories from an author whose work "starts off like a brush fire and then engulfs and burns with fury" (The Huffington Post).

Reading Louisa Meets Bear is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, as we uncover the subtle and startling connections between new characters and the star-crossed lovers. We meet a daughter who stabs her mother when she learns the truth about her father, a wife who sees herself clearly after finding a man dead on her office floor, a mother who discovers a girl in her teenage son's bed. Each character is striking, each rendered with Gornick's trademark sympathy and psychological acuity. We follow them over the course of a half century, from San Francisco to New York City and from Guatemala to Venice, through pregnancies, tragedies, and revelations, until we return to Louisa and Bear.

With flawed and deeply human characters, and piercing insight into the lives of women, Louisa Meets Bear grapples with whether we can—or can't—choose how and whom we love.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/09/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374710262
ASIN:
B00PP7F0MQ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Lisa Gornick. (2015). Louisa Meets Bear: Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lisa Gornick. 2015. Louisa Meets Bear: Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lisa Gornick, Louisa Meets Bear: Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lisa Gornick. Louisa Meets Bear: Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:22:02
Date Updated:
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Apr 11, 2021 09:56:03
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      • bioText: Lisa Gornick is the author of Louisa Meets Bear, Tinderbox, and A Private Sorcery. Her stories and essays have appeared widely, including in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Real Simple, and The Wall Street Journal. She holds a B.A. from Princeton and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale, and is on the faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. A long-time New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her family.
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title
Louisa Meets Bear
fullDescription

When Louisa and Bear meet at Princeton in 1975, sparks fly. Louisa is the sexually adventurous daughter of a geneticist, Bear the volatile son of a plumber. They dive headfirst into a passionate affair that will alter the course of their lives, changing how they define themselves in the years and relationships that follow. Lisa Gornick's Louisa Meets Bear is a gripping novel in interconnected stories from an author whose work "starts off like a brush fire and then engulfs and burns with fury" (The Huffington Post).

Reading Louisa Meets Bear is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, as we uncover the subtle and startling connections between new characters and the star-crossed lovers. We meet a daughter who stabs her mother when she learns the truth about her father, a wife who sees herself clearly after finding a man dead on her office floor, a mother who discovers a girl in her teenage son's bed. Each character is striking, each rendered with Gornick's trademark sympathy and psychological acuity. We follow them over the course of a half century, from San Francisco to New York City and from Guatemala to Venice, through pregnancies, tragedies, and revelations, until we return to Louisa and Bear.

With flawed and deeply human characters, and piercing insight into the lives of women, Louisa Meets Bear grapples with whether we can—or can't—choose how and whom we love.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Barbara Hoffert, Library JournalPraise for Tinderbox
      • content:

        "Extraordinary writing; I fell in love on the first page."

      • premium: False
      • source: People (four stars)
      • content: "Lisa Gornick is . . . one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America. All of that is on display in Louisa Meets Bear, her third and finest book . . . [Gornick is] committed to having her characters speak for themselves, and she doesn't force resolutions just because they'd be convenient. That's part of what makes Louisa Meets Bear such a wonderful, perfectly executed novel - it's not just the beautiful writing, it's the honesty behind it, which she commits to even when it's brutal. '[I]n the end, this is everyone's fate: our remains outstrip our lives,' one character reflects. It may not be comforting, but it's true, and it takes a writer as immensely talented and brave as Gornick to say it."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from April 27, 2015
        Gornick’s brilliantly constructed third novel (after Tinderbox) offers a seamless series of events, spanning from 1961 to 2009, that explore the full spectrum of life in all its bizarre coincidences, tragedies, and passions. Presented as an array of interconnected stories that focus on different characters (à la A Visit from the Goon Squad), with shifting uses of first, second, and third person, Gornick’s book ties together her characters as they undergo experiences ranging from growing up as a pregnant teen with a depressed and distant mother (Lizzy, in “Instructions to Participant”), to finding a soulmate in college (Louisa, in “Louisa Meets Bear”), to facing the uncomfortable sexual urges a father has toward his adopted teenage daughter, who seems to have disappeared during a night’s outing in Venice, Italy (Richard, in “Misto”). The fact that Lizzy and Louisa are cousins, and that the adopted daughter is the baby that Lizzy gave up, typifies Gornick’s dazzling plot construction. But this book is so much more—at its heart is the torrid relationship between Louisa and Bear that, decades later, comes full circle in a remarkably revelatory way. Gornick captures all the heartbreak and joy of what it is to be human. Agent: Geri Thoma, Markson Thoma Literary Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2015
        In eight loosely constructed stories, Gornick (Tinderbox, 2013, etc.), a psychoanalyst, portrays the small worlds of privileged Americans. Grouped in sections by date, ranging from 1961 to 2009, these stories are linked by relationships: of blood, romance, or chance acquaintance. Feminist issues loom large. In "Instructions to Participant," Yale freshman Lizzy, pregnant at 18, is confused (as readers may be) by her mother's conflicting accounts of why she "stopped loving." In the rambling title story, Louisa, Lizzy's cousin, meets William, nicknamed Bear, at Princeton. This Midwesterner-turned-surfer-turned-banker will forever overshadow Louisa's love life, but their attachment, which compromises all their other relationships, is never convincingly rendered. "Lion Eats Cheetah Eats Weasel Eats Mouse" features Louisa's affair (the cause of her first separation from Bear) with wheeler-dealer Andrew, an NYU law student obsessed with Guatemala. In "Parachute," Andrew's second wife, Marnie, endures morning sickness and existential nausea. (Fourteen years after similarly shocking Louisa, Andrew horrifies Marnie with his callous account of the lynching of a Guatemalan snitch.) One of the more powerful stories, "Priest Pond," illustrates the limited vistas of characters not born to privilege: Bear's sister Charlotte's life is blunted by her husband's decision to choose hockey over college. Brianna, Lizzy's now-teenage daughter, and her adoptive parents exist in a parallel universe to the other characters ("Misto") but contribute little to the theme. In several of the stories, a suicide, suspected suicide, or other melodramatic event substitutes for an earned epiphany. Likewise, heavy-handed symbolism too often takes the place of genuine resolution, as when singing along to "Mrs. Robinson" prompts a mother (Louisa's best friend) to forgive her daughter for stabbing her ("Conchita") or when the dinosaurs in a Manhattan museum signal redemption to Charlotte. Superficial connections devoid of life-giving subtext.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2015
        It's the 1960s, and passions are percolating right below the surface. Come the 1970s, those emotions will erupt in love affairs that run deep but not necessarily long. By the time the twenty-first century has fully settled into itself, the feelings that defined a loosely connected group of individuals will have formed a web as lovers separate and marry new people, all while ghosts of former flings flutter around in their brains. Children, too, are born, and their arrivals and, sadly, departures provide emotional touchstones and produce turmoil. At the core of Gornick's delicately nuanced and emotionally perceptive novel of interconnected stories stand Louisa and Bear, college students in the 1970s who can't quite make a go of their relationship. Yet as their separate lives take them to different parts of the country and down different paths, they never fully lose sight of what was and what might have been. Coming full circle in a way that is both oddly surprising and yet feels organically right, Gornick's (Tinderbox, 2013) exploration of loneliness and loss, private connections and personal upheavals resonates with comforting familiarity and profound brilliance. Utterly human and keenly humane, her heroes and heroines are our friends and enemies, our very selves for better and worse.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2015

        This latest from Gornick (Tinderbox) ranges from San Francisco and New York City to Guatemala and Venice in the years 1961-2009, but at its heart is Louisa, a geneticist's risk-taking daughter, who meets wild Bear, son of a plumber, at freshly coed Princeton in 1975. They enter into a passionate affair that shapes both their lives and the narrative, with life-defining moments (e.g., a daughter stabs her mother when she learns the truth about her father) along the way. Extraordinary writing; I fell in love on the first page.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2015

        Two people from very diverse backgrounds meet during college, and a flame is ignited. Their frantic, passionate relationship doesn't last for long, but the repercussions go on forever. Formatted as a novella-with-stories, the narrative revolves around upper-crust Louisa and Bear, son of a plumber, and the people, places, and things that have helped to define their lives. Through marriage, divorce, betrayal, parenthood, and a range of unfortunate choices, pivots and turns take place owing to circumstance--or perhaps fate. Decades later, when they meet again, Louisa and Bear each come to see how the past has played out and how their feverish early relationship has come full circle. In these stories, above all, the entanglements of the human heart run rampant. VERDICT Gornick (Tinderbox) describes all of the dark spaces and the buried secrets within the psyche of each character, allowing them slowly to come to light as she delineates the tangled webs woven among even the most casual acquaintances. Those who enjoy literary novels of psychological portent will relish this title. [See Prepub Alert, 12/15/14.]--Susanne Wells, Indianapolis P.L.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

A youthful affair may be brief, but the repercussions can haunt your life—and your family's

When Louisa and Bear meet at Princeton in 1975, sparks fly. Louisa is the sexually adventurous daughter of a geneticist, Bear the volatile son of a plumber. They dive headfirst into a passionate but explosive affair that will alter the course of their lives, changing how they define themselves in the years and relationships that follow. Louisa Meets Bear is a gripping collection of linked stories from an author whose work "starts off like a brushfire and then engulfs and burns with fury" (The Huffington Post).
Reading Louisa Meets Bear is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, as we uncover the subtle and startling connections between new characters and the star-crossed lovers. We meet a daughter who stabs her mother when she learns the truth about her father, a wife who sees herself clearly after finding a man dead on her office floor, a mother who...

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