The Bear Went over the Mountain (1996)

by William Kotzwinkle

Absurd but insightful about the literary world and modern society’s obsession with fame, The Bear Went over the Mountain is a tale about an aspiring novelist and a bear who steals his manuscript and presents himself as its author. The book is published and becomes a bestseller, with no one — not his publishers, publicists, or media interviewers — recognizing that “Hal Jam” is a bear. Meanwhile, the real novelist, despairing about his fate, starts to lose his humanity and take on characteristics of a bear.

The ending — describing how the bear manages to find another manuscript for a sequel — is especially clever.

The Bear Went over the Mountain was not the first time author William Kotzwinkle attributed human qualities to nonhumans. He is best known for writing the novelization of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial.


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