What happens when a respectable middle-aged father, teacher and writer decides one day to abandon his ordinary routine and embark on an unexpected journey toward an unknowable fate, following the ghost of Buster Keaton and a vision of a bear?
In Tim Bowling's fifth novel, The Heavy Bear, the main character?a sort of contemporary version of Joyce's Leopold Bloom who just happens to be named Tim Bowling'spends an intense late-summer day in downtown Edmonton. Haunted by "the slender sadness" of the world, and unable to face his afternoon class, Tim Bowling finds himself pulled into an escapade revolving around an antique toy, a capuchin monkey and a young student our narrator likens to Pippi Longstocking. Accompanied by the shade of the silent-film star Buster Keaton, and the bear-shaped spirit of the American poet Delmore Schwartz, Bowling's Tim Bowling must confront, with equal parts humour and sincerity, a fundamental problem of our age: how to make and maintain human connections in a world that seems intent on destroying them?
About the author
Tim Bowling has published numerous poetry collections, including Low Water Slack; Dying Scarlet (winner of the 1998 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for poetry); Darkness and Silence (winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry); The Witness Ghost; and The Memory Orchard (both nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award). He is also the author of three novels, Downriver Drift (Harbour), The Paperboy's Winter (Penguin) and The Bone Sharps (Gaspereau Press). His first book of non-fiction, The Lost Coast: Salmon, Memory and the Death of Wild Culture (Nightwood Editions), was shortlisted for three literary awards: The Writers' Trust Nereus Non-Fiction Award, the BC Book Prizes' Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize and the Alberta Literary Awards' Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction. The Lost Coast was also chosen as a 2008 Kiriyama Prize "Notable Book." Bowling is the recipient of the Petra Kenney International Poetry Prize, the National Poetry Award and the Orillia International Poetry Prize. Bowling was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. A native of the West Coast, he now lives in Edmonton Alberta. His latest collection of poetry is Tenderman (Nightwood), due out in fall 2011.
"Bowling's command of language is effortlessly beautiful; part of the brilliance of the novel is in the way it prompts you to consider your own engagement as a reader." - Quill & Quire
"Beautifully written, this is a book for readers, and for those looking for reassurance that middle-age doesn?t mark the end of personal creativity." - Toronto Now
Other titles by Tim Bowling
The Call of the Red-winged Blackbird
Essays on the Common and Extraordinary
Dark Set, The
New Tenderman Poems
The Duende of Tetherball
The 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology
A Selection of the Shortlist
Circa Nineteen Hundred and Grief
In the Suicide’s Library
A Book Lover’s Journey