The Bear Came Over the Mountain
Taken from the collection: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories
I had read this story earlier. I do not remember when, but I remembered the story as I started reading it again with the start of this project. Why did I choose this one as the first story? Because I wanted this entire experience to be memorable and only a story by Alice Munro for a start, could ensure that.
“The Bear Came over the Mountain” according to me is the best story she has ever written. That is just my opinion though. There is Grant – the husband. There is Fiona – the wife. There is also memory – instrumental to the entire story. Fiona is losing her memory. There is no indication that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s. There is this tact with which Munro presents the condition of her characters. She has to be put in a care centre. Grant is aware. Grant has been infidel in the past. Fiona is aware. Now perhaps she remembers or she doesn’t. At Meadowlake, Fiona meets someone new and forgets she ever had a husband. That and more is the crux of this heartbreakingly beautiful short story.
Alice Munro’s style is just hers. I don’t think anyone can either match or copy it at any point. Her stories brim with irony, angst and above all they are just real – they remind you of you at some point. Her characters are dealing and going through life as you and I – they just do not know how to deal with situations, again like you and I. They struggle through emotions, the awkwardness, trying to fill gaps, silences, and want to know what love or essence of it all is.
“The Bear Came over the Mountain” moves you, intimidates you and above all makes you want to reach out to the ones you love and if any author is capable of doing that, then you must read her, again and again and perhaps again.
You can read the story here: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/10/21/131021fi_fiction_munro