Read Bear and His Daughter by RobertStone Online


The stories collected in Bear and His Daughter span nearly thirty years - 1969 to the present - and they explore, acutely and powerfully, the humanity that unites us. In "Miserere," a widowed librarian with an unspeakable secret undertakes an unusual and grisly role in the anti-abortion crusade. "Under the Pitons" is the harrowing story of a reluctant participant in a drugThe stories collected in Bear and His Daughter span nearly thirty years - 1969 to the present - and they explore, acutely and powerfully, the humanity that unites us. In "Miserere," a widowed librarian with an unspeakable secret undertakes an unusual and grisly role in the anti-abortion crusade. "Under the Pitons" is the harrowing story of a reluctant participant in a drug-running scheme and the grim and unexpected consequences of his involvement. The title story is a riveting account of the tangled lines that weave together the relationship of a father and his grown daughter....

Title : Bear and His Daughter
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780395901342
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bear and His Daughter Reviews

  • Yulia
    2019-03-05 17:30

    It's a miracle, a book actually worth owning. After following a worthy discussion of "Helping" on Constant Reader, I borrowed this collection in which it's included from the library and read it. I don't think I'll be able to read all his stories just now because they do contain more than many novels even attempt to, so I'll get my own copy and keep it on hand for when I'm ready again. Bless Stone for appreciating and respecting the short story. No, it is not a means to an end, to pay the bills as you write your next novel. It is worthy in and of itself and deserves to be taken more seriously. What Stone also does is put other much-hailed short story writers, like Lahiri and Munro, to shame. As I note in the comments below, Stone has a wickedly dark sense of humor. He doesn't shy away from uncomfortable subjects or emotions. And his writing is clean but not overly spare. But I've yet to finish this collection. My one quibble so far is with Stone's embarrassing tendency to give his character's meaningful names which he then comments upon in the stories: Grace whose husband needs her as his own saving grace, Smart th e poet, Rowan the forest ranger. Makes me wonder what my own name would be if Stone were to fictionalize me. No, what he would do is make a pun on Frank's last name, Bogues, as everyone does. Bogues? Don't you mean bogus? Yes, that's what he would do. And I, by relation, am Ms. Bogus. (spoiler warning)The title story is beautiful. I felt a bit awkward at first (to my own surprise) reading it, since I usually think I'm immune to being shocked by good old taboo subjects, but the end was so fitting. Makes me think of Kathryn Harrison and how she can move on as a seemingly healthy and productive member of society. Another beautiful story about incest is Somerset Maugham's "The Bookbag." While in high school, I told my English teacher how much I liked the story and quite shocked him. What can I say? Don't judge a story by its subject matter. I cheated, I read on. But I promise to buy another book of his.

  • Steve
    2019-03-01 17:43

    I took my time reading these, which kind of suggests that I never felt driven to finish the collection right away. I didn’t always like how some of the stories were resolved (for example, “Aquarius Obscured”), but compensation is always available with Stone, since his writing is as crafted as anyone in the business. He’s one of those writers who I’ll read just for the language. There were two stories in particular that stood out, and could easily be slotted into any “Best of” anthologies. The first, the title story, “Bear and his Daughter,” which is about a boozing and aging poet, his meth cooked daughter, and a reunion that is also a reckoning. What they share amounts to an incredibly sad indictment of the excesses of the sixties and seventies (and Stone would know). Talk about hearts of darkness. Whew. The second, and a masterpiece to my mind, is “Under the Pitons,” a sea story that mixes a deadly cocktail of booze, drugs, hatred, and Nature. This story is right up there with the best efforts of Conrad, Melville, London, or Crane.

  • Janet
    2019-03-17 20:25

    For many years, Stone's only collection of short stories. Intense! He is especially the master of the multi-character dialogue scene. Nobody does it like him--If I had to pick one writer to call the best living American author? Stone, Stone Stone. These short stories give you the essence. Then read Dog Soldiers. Then Children of Light (love that book). I've just learned there's a 2010 collection which I can't wait to try.

  • Ariel
    2019-03-21 18:25

    Noteworthy/memorable:Under the Pitons is still possibly the best short story I've ever read. Stone has said that he learned not to throw the conflict in the plot in too early or too late, but in this work he weaves it in masterfully until, like the characters, paranoia sets in and you don't know where the true threat is until it's too late. The emotion is palpable, as is the pessimistic and wry despair of the main character, whose ultimate resignation to his fate smacks of the black humor which comes of events too stark and terrible to be fathomed rationally. Whew.Helping pretty much exemplifies the entire collection, as the characters' mistakes keep compounding, and they struggle against themselves inescapably. At first you feel a sense of confusion at their self-destructive behavior, then you realize that maybe the characters are just as confused as you are. This one has an evocative ending which I liked.Honorable mentions:Bear and His Daughter, 'Porque No Tiene, Porque Le Falta'Take-home message:Wow. Drugs mess you up. And actually most of the stories in this book are worth reading just for the pitying and aghast look your face will take on without you noticing.

  • Alan
    2019-02-26 17:31

    'Under the Pitons' is a great story and the others aren't bad either.Ah, just come across this in my 1999 notebook, and it triggers a spoiler alert I think:Stoned, paranoid and violent people. The atrocious beating given out by the hero of 'Absence of Mercy'; the man shooting the skier and perhaps his partner; the anti-abortionists collecting fetuses (sic) as evidence. Strong stuff....later in the notebook.. Home on the last bus to Birmingham, readIng 'Under the Pitons' half drunk and happy as hell. Lovely, lovely night. (Man U had just beaten Juventus in the European Cup semi final).

  • Michael Shilling
    2019-03-23 22:19

    I learned that sorrow, felt without mercy to one's illusions about one's character, is a soul cleanser. "Helping" and "Among the Pitons" are two amazing stories that any and every writer should read.

  • Cody
    2019-03-15 17:19

    there comes a point where one may tire of reading harrowing tales of tortured geniuses dabbing crystal on their gums and taking aim at the world

  • Frederic Murray
    2019-02-28 22:17

    Read these stores by Stone years ago and upon revisiting found them as terrifying as the first time.

  • Robert
    2019-03-19 20:45

    Good depravity here - I like his work - couple of these stories grab hold of you and tear at you

  • Greg
    2019-03-23 17:30

    This collection of short stories is very good. “Under the Pitons” is wonderfully evoked. It is a tough read, and a sort of hopelessness seeps into the story slowly as the plot unfolds. This is a dark story. Similarly, “Helping” is a bleak story of a recovering alcoholic. It starts in a way that almost describes the mood of the whole collection: “The wet streets seemed cold and lonely. He sensed a broken promise in the city’s elegance and verve. Old hopes tormented him like phantom limbs, but he did not drink. He had joined Alcoholics Anonymous fifteen months before.” (83) The title story was also very good, and I thought “Absence of Mercy” was wonderful when I read it as well. “The worst of it…was the absence of mercy. Once the punishment began, no amount of crying or pleading would stay the prefect’s hand. Each blow followed upon the last, inexorably, like the will of God. It was the will of God.” (32) Ouch.This is a very good short story collection. I’m not sure I would call the reading enjoyable.See my other reviews here!

  • Chip Masters
    2019-02-22 19:15

    No one writes about the horrifying depravity, the powerlessness and unmanageability, of drug and alcohol addition quite like Robert Stone. If you're looking for desperate characters, leading wrecked and miserable lives, trying to outrun, outdrink, outsnort, or outsmoke the fate looming just over the hazy horizon, this is the book for you. All seven stories are great in their own twisted way, but my favorite was Under the Pitons, because I love a good story about drug running amateurs caught out on an ironically named sail boat in the Caribbean, getting high on their own supply, too ignorant to know it's the puddle that drowns you.

  • Josh
    2019-02-23 14:25

    These are brutally grim, excellent stories. Apparently, according to Robert Stone, everything will not be alright.

  • Rita
    2019-03-13 22:42

    I hadn't heard of Robert Stone until someone sent me this book. I liked some of the stories. I didn't finish the one about the volcano.

  • Christopher MacMillan
    2019-03-09 22:18

    Robert Stone's tapestry of stark, stirring short stories is woven taught with desperate, dangerous characters doing self-destructive things during their own existential quests. Drug abuse, alcoholism, wholly unholy relationships, sex, and many other issues are dissected here, but these topics are always handled in a way that is new, unusual, and refreshing. A woman takes it upon herself to give aborted fetuses a Catholic burial; a crystal meth addict dreams of seducing her alcoholic father; drug smugglers find themselves drowning in the Atlantic Ocean; a woman pops some pills and hallucinates a conversation with a dolphin... These stories are all rich with irony, symbolism, and with Stone's refusal to flinch away from writing about topics that make many people uncomfortable.The stories are all slow, but never dull, and we observe these characters struggle with their own misery in - despite the odd situations they may find themselves in - surprisingly lifelike ways. The writing can once in awhile be somewhat vague (though never confusing), but that does nothing to hinder the suspense that is so captivating in each individual story: no character in "Bear and His Daughter" knows what his or her own immediate future will be, and we can't wait to see what happens either.Reading this collection of stories was not a pleasant experience, but it was certainly a hypnotic one that showed me life from the point-of-view of the unhappy people that most other writers seem to have forgotten exist.

  • Steve
    2019-03-15 18:28

    Not so much a review as "some comments". I read a fair number of these stories when they were published on their own. I really wish they had included date of publication at the end or on the copyright page. Written over a nearly 30 year period, when each occurred in his writing career would have helped. Some are obviously from earlier in his life and somewhat autobiographical. Once my favorite author, I find myself going back and reading his work since his recent death. I am not a big short story reader (I can't remember the last time I read another collection - some Jane Smiley novellas in the last year or 2 comes the closest). But I do remember in his memoir his stating how hard it is to write short stories after having been made to read Hemingway's. That you're just starting out, you read the best of the best, and compare your own work to that, and it is so disappointing and frustrating. I do hope that his family and agent and publisher will get together and finally publish a collection of his non-fiction pieces. He did a good number of book reviews (usually very insightful) and travel pieces and an occasional thought piece. Plus interviews maybe? For one of the major writers of the late 20th C, I think such a volume would be appreciated and a credit to his career.

  • Branden
    2019-03-04 22:18

    "helping" is definitely a masterpiece and the sole reason to purchase this book if you're going to buy it (i got it from the library). "under the pitons," though a bit of a slog in the beginning, definitely takes off in a wonderful way that justifies the means. i also found myself moved by "absence of mercy" and "aquarius obscured," for very different reasons. criticisms of stone are all valid. after a while, you do get exhausted by all of these self-destructive addict characters. (by the time you get to "bear and his daughter," which is about a methhead and her drunk father, you're like REALLY!?) stone has a way with language that is consistently surprising, but there are many-a time when all the baroqueness gets a little boring/pretentious/slow-going. when it works though, it's unbelievable. start with "helping."

  • Charles
    2019-03-13 22:34

    I crawled back and forth over these seven stories. I tried to understand how Stone got so much into so little space. I couldn't. In the space of five or six sentences he'd give the reader character depth, the conflict, and a beautiful, brief casual sentence of setting. As much as I wanted to stop and ponder his technique I would already be captured by his narrative pull.I read and reread the GR reviews. I marveled how readers could pick one or two favorites. It was like, I imagine, picking a favorite child. Yes, some were more gifted or beautiful than others, but God what great writing. I've been Robert Stone or he has been me. I've lived these people. They say what I think. Wow!

  • Dave
    2019-03-01 20:33

    "…..He wished no harm to any creature.Then he thought of himself wishing no harm to any creature and began to feel fond and sorry for himself. As soon as he grew aware of the emotion he was indulging, he suppressed it. Pissing and moaning, mourning and weeping, that was the nature of the drug."the drug is alcohol but stone knows the nature of many drugs and he uses that knowledge to great realistic and metaphoric benefit. he chronicles what many in my generation regret but he nails what humans have always regretted especially the loss of saviours: personal and sexual, political and religious.

  • Owen Goldin
    2019-03-19 17:25

    I am a fan of Robert Stone, I really am, but his art works best in the novel form. All of these stories get real intense right away, fueled by the usual Stone=characters' proclivity to addictive, self-destructive behavior, and it gets to be a little over the top. Sort of like an inverse best-of-Bruckner collection, including only the biggest crescendos. And while the novels allow time to get to know the characters and to see the seeds of redemption in their hard falls, that is missing here. But the stories are gripping, and Stone's poetic prose is as usual right on the mark.

  • G
    2019-02-25 21:41

    I’ll keep this brief. Robert Stone is certainly a gifted writer. His stories on the whole didn’t appeal to me. It wasn’t that I was offended, though many readers might find certain stories a bit hard to stomach. It was simply that the works didn’t resonate with me. Outside of a few passages that sparkled, on the whole I was underwhelmed. Maybe his strength is novels and not short stories. And maybe this collection suffered in my mind since I read it immediately after a collection of Alice Munro. She’s a tough act to follow.

  • Mike Ingram
    2019-02-25 21:20

    Okay, so the first couple stories I wasn't so into, but I kept going because so many writers I admire are always going on about Robert Stone's short fiction. And I'm glad I did, because suddenly the book picked up steam, and the last few stories were pretty amazing -- "Helping" and "Under the Pitons," and especially the title story. There's a confidence to the writing that's pretty damn impressive, and which carries some pretty long, sometimes meandering stories.

  • M.E. Johnson
    2019-02-25 17:18

    May was short story month, therefore I had to read at least one collection, right? Decided to go with Robert Stone, since I do own most of his work, yet had not read any to date. Bear and His Daughter was good; but just that, 'good'. Didn't blow me away, yet it did give me an insight into Robert Stone and I do not hesitate to read more. My favorite was the title story, although disturbing it was 'great'.

  • Tom Hooker
    2019-03-10 17:17

    In "Miserere," Mary Urquhart, a widow who lost her own children in a terrible accident, now assuages her guilt by taking responsibility for the souls of the unborn. In "Under the Pitons, " the reluctant Blessington finds himself caught up in the grim aftermath of a drug-running scheme, while in "Porque No Tiene, Porque Le Falta" a hike up the side of a Mexican volcano brings about eruptions in the personal lives of ex-patriot Fletch and his companions.

  • Joan Colby
    2019-03-21 16:30

    A compelling writer, Stone’s novels have always topped my list of favorites headed by Damascus Road and Dog Soldiers. I hadn’t read his short stories, but they are just as masterly. Bear and His Daughter, the title story, is a tour de force. I also liked Under the Pitons, plus all the rest. Sadly, Stone died recently, leaving too few books behind.

  • John Benschoter
    2019-03-14 21:43

    A very good collection of short stories by a fantastic novelist. Aquarius Obscured is a weak addition to an otherwise superb group of stories. The blurb on the cover comparing these stories to something by Carver (though much longer) is spot on. If I didn't know it was Stone, I would easily have put these stories in the modern Northwest tradition--stark, brutal, with a harsh edge to their humor.

  • Ben Bush
    2019-03-01 14:39

    Read this cause Dog Soldiers made a pretty interesting impression on. Great line-level writing in a lot of this. Part of what propels Stone's stuff is that the people in them are capable of _any_ damn thing--not in the superhero sense--but like unhinged without losing a grip on their humanness, lived reality, and the presence of some version of god.

  • Aerial Nun
    2019-03-21 18:22

    I read "Helping" years ago so when I saw this collection at Kaboom in Houston I thought, sure, why not? I could not put this book down. I am haunted by the disturbing images and no-holds-barred depiction of characters. For those who whine about stories about "poets ad professors," i challenge you to read the title story. This collection is a new favorite.

  • Dee
    2019-03-02 18:19

    Every story was so vivid, engaging, and outrageous. The language smart and fresh. The dialogue insanely good. Riveting. I was least impressed with the title story until I finished it and then I had to immediately re read it, amazing. The characters are so flawed and unique and drunk and stoned. Gotta love em.

  • Marilyn Saul
    2019-03-13 20:43

    I only read about half of the stories. I don't have any understanding of the drug scene and I do not know why people would deliberately take crack or meth, so I had no sympathy and, quite frankly, no desire to read about this disgusting segment of society.

  • Kate
    2019-03-05 21:21

    I read this in graduate school and wanted to re-read upon Stone's death this year. "Under the Pitons" is a mastery of tension and "Helping" is possibly a perfect story. Mental note to re-read this annually.