Memoirs of a Polar Bear (Paperback)
"... a novel of blurred lines: of the real and the dream, of the the animal and the human, of the audience and the performer. It is full of keen and occasionally satirical observations about humanity, outsiders, and love..." - Cari, Book Culture Selects letter, Literature in Translation, January— From New Year, New Book Culture Selects Picks!
The Memoirs of a Polar Bear has in spades what Rivka Galchen hailed in the New Yorker as "Yoko Tawada's magnificent strangeness"--Tawada is an author like no other. Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In chapter one, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In chapter two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son--the last of their line--is Knut, born in chapter three in a Leipzig zoo but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away...
Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and "the intimacy of being alone with my pen."