Bear Woman

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UPC: 9781552454312
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Authors: Karolina Ramqvist (Author), Saskia Vogel (Translator)
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Coach House Books (February 8, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1552454312
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1552454312
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 1 x 8 inches


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.


“Karolina Ramqvist writes with frosty precision the kind of literature that is unforgettable. Her portraits of women hit deep into bone and marrow.” –Dorthe Nors

“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

“One of my favorite discoveries from this year.” –Samanta Schweblin

"The deeply personal journey of a writer, surprising and illuminating, and for me, familiar in the most reassuring way as she loses herself in this compelling story" - Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky



"Ramqvist skillfully blends a story of survival with an autofictional meditation on womanhood ... It adds up to a careful study of a woman’s writing life." –Publishers Weekly

"Women’s stories often must be rescued from the margins of history, as a writer on a difficult research expedition is reminded in Karolina Ramqvist’s introspective novel The Bear Woman." –Forward Reviews, Book of the Day

“Ramqvist is a serious contender for the Swedish literary limelight.” –Shelf Awareness

"A book about writing a book, which melds elements of autofiction, literary detective work, and adventure storytelling, The Bear Woman is a meditation on the value and pitfalls of writing history — especially women’s history." – Edmée Lepercq, Los Angeles Review of Books

"The Bear Woman is a reflection on the power at once wielded and yielded by storytellers." –Eloísa Díaz, Necessary Fiction

"Ramqvist’s excavation of the process of creation and research, delay and anxiety, is both multi-layered and intriguing." –James Scales, Full Stop