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You might think that a writer best-known for novelizing the movie "E.T." would find a satire on the book publishing industry hitting a bit close to home, but William Kotzwinkle seems quite comfortable with the task in this comic fable. In Kotzwinkle's merry send-up, the author of the hit novel "Desire and Destiny" is a bear, a real bear, who after finding the manuscript under a spruce tree and attaching his nom de plume, Hal Jam, becomes rich and famous overnight. Obtuse editors, star-hound agents, and a right-wing televangelist and Presidential candidate all warm to Hal's warm, bearish honesty without bothering to read his book--or to notice that he's an animal, for that matter. It's an old gag turned by a canny author to amusing, if not always compelling, purposes. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is certainly the season for satirical looks at publishing. After Olivia Goldsmith's The Bestseller comes this delightful fable by Kotzwinkle (whose E.T. shares with Winston Groom's Forrest Gump the distinction of being its author's best-known title despite having been read by comparatively few people). Kotzwinkle has imagined a disconsolate Maine professor, Arthur Bramhall, who sets out to write a bestseller, only to have a bear steal it, thinking it's something to eat. This is no ordinary bear, however; he has aspirations to becoming a person (they eat so much better, and with much less trouble, than bears do). What better way to establish an identity than by becoming a celebrity novelist? Soon, the bear has found a pseudonym, Hal Jam, an agent and a publisher. With his distinctively masculine presence, and a monosyllabic way of talking that reminds many of Hemingway, he's on his way to stardom with a novel that everyone agrees has its roots deep in the natural world. Soon, he has a Hollywood agent, too, and the admiration of a Southern writer whose specialty is angels; both of them succumb to Hal's exuberant love-making (since a bear normally does it only once a year, a lot of libido is saved up). A pillar of the Christian right wants Hal's support for a run for the presidency, and Hal is only too willing, since he thinks "candidacy," like most words he doesn't know, means something to eat. Meanwhile, Bramhall, who is turning into a bear as fast as Hal is becoming human, launches a lawsuit to recover his lost book. How it all works out, and how Hal finds himself a sequel, is the meat of Kotzwinkle's hilarious and sometimes touching parable. The book business is unmercifully skewered (having read only a few lines of the novel, Hal's publicity person writes a summary on which all interviewers depend), but the spirit is mostly kindly, and in Hal Kotzwinkle has created a real star. Movie rights optioned by Jim Henson Pictures; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I am both astounded and confounded by the reviews here. Simply put, this is the single worst novel I have ever read. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by bob
The characters are cliché, the plot is easy to follow but isn't that the point with a fable. Kotzwinkle takes something we know, or think we know, and twist it to show a... Read morePublished on March 2 2004
I find it absolutely amazing that this book has 4 1/2 stars.
Do readers have no taste at all. I cannot begin to relate just
how many ways this book is unfunny and gross. Read more
This positively brilliant book follows the life of a bear who happens to find a manuscript in the woods. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2004
The Bear Went Over the Mountain is one of the funniest books I've ever read. The notion that a talking bear can get a novel publish is a bit wacky, but once the situation is set in... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2003 by Doug Keller
A charming book and genuinely funny to boot.
It's impossible not to like Hal Jam, a true innocent abroad, as he makes his way through the shark infested world of publishing... Read more
The Bear Went Over the Mountain could easily been condensed into 100 pages. I was not impressed, though I will admit that it had some "laugh out loud moments. Read morePublished on Dec 8 2003 by L. Dubuc
Fabulous read! A page-turner! I laughed out loud every so often and I almost believed that a tubby bear can really pull all these off! Simple to read, yet depicts humanity. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2003 by Hazel
The Bear Went Over the Mountain is not only hilarious it is also a great commentary on our society. If only more books this funny existed!Published on May 14 2003