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The Bear Woman

The Bear Woman

by Karolina Ramqvist

Narrated by Sophie Aldred

Unabridged — 8 hours, 21 minutes

Karolina Ramqvist

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Overview

Feminist autofiction from one of Sweden's blazing talents.


Blending autofiction and essay, The Bear Woman is a journey of feminism and literary detective work spanning centuries and continents. In the 1540s, a young French noblewoman, Marguerite de la Rocque, was abandoned on an island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with her maidservant and her lover. In present-day Stockholm, an author and mother becomes captivated by the image of Marguerite sheltered in a dark cave after her companions have died.


This image soon becomes an obsession. She must find out the real story of the woman she calls the Bear Woman. But so much in this history is written so as to gloss over male violence. And the maps and other sources she consults are at times undecipherable.


Karolina Ramqvist explores what it means to write history-and to live it.



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

12/20/2021

Ramqvist (The White City) skillfully blends a story of survival with an autofictional meditation on womanhood. It begins with an obsession. In 1541, Marguerite de La Roque accompanies her male guardian, a man of connections, on an expedition to the New World. En route, though, Marguerite is abandoned on an island in the North Atlantic as punishment for supposedly sleeping with a crew member. In the present day, Karolina Ramqvist, a writer and mother of three, hears the legend of the Bear Woman, about how Marguerite survived the wild animals and the wilderness on the island. As Ramqvist begins looking through historical archives, a winding research and writing process ensues, nonlinear in its progression and punctuated by the fear and self-doubt plaguing Karolina in her mission to unearth the truth of what happened to Marguerite. Insightful in her observations and sharp with her prose, the author explores parallels between Marguerite’s experiences and Karolina’s, as the protagonist contends with the demands of motherhood. It adds up to a careful study of a woman’s writing life. (Feb.)

From the Publisher

The ghostly Scandinavian setting and [protagonist] Karin’s closely narrated sense of impending doom, baby cooing patiently at her hip, make Swedish star Ramqvist’s English-language debut an atmospheric and suspenseful read.” —Booklist


“The White City is rich in language and ambience. Moody, mysterious, maternal and magnetic . . . it is a haunting novel of a woman adrift yet firmly attached to romantic memories of her lover and the simple needs of her daughter . . . Ramqvist is a serious contender for the Swedish literary limelight.” —Shelf Awareness


“The White City is the first novel I have read that follows the adventures of a dyad, a character with two bodies not one, a mother, Karin, and her nursing, still speechless infant, Dream. Ramqvist’s acute rendering of embodied sensual experience combined with her evocation of her double character’s increasingly desperate circumstances create a story of high tension, startling insights, and lasting resonance.” —Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World


“Ramqvist crafts a story of sparse detail that moves at a rapid pace . . . This page-turner shows one young woman’s struggle to face harsh realities.” —Susanne Wells, Library Journal


“Though the plot of Ramqvist’s English debut may make it sound like a crime thriller, the pace is lulling, the writing sensuous and patiently observed . . . the book feels, more than any thriller, like an allegory of parenting . . . Delicate and unsparing.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Full of suspense and beautifully written dreamlike sequences . . . [The White City] will have a lasting impact on readers.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175366724
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication date: 04/15/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

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