The Heavy Bear

The Heavy Bear

by Tim Bowling
  • english-from-canada
  • from-ontario
  • literary
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 extraordinary new novel, The Heavy Bear, we spend an intense late-summer day in downtown Edmonton with our narrator, an unassuming college instructor who just happens to be named Tim Bowling. Haunted by the “slender sadness” of the world and looking for a way to shake off the trivial frustrations of modern life, Bowling’s Tim Bowling finds himself pulled into an escapade involving an antique toy, a “liberated” capuchin monkey and an eager young student who our narrator likens to Pippi Longstocking. Advised by the bear-shaped spirit of American poet Delmore Schwartz and guided by the ghost of silent film star Buster Keaton, this Tim Bowling stumbles through his adventure until he stands free of his ghosts and finds himself willing to rejoin the bustling current of our clamorous age.


Tim Bowling, author

Apart from appearing as a main character in novels that he has written, Tim Bowling also works in many other genres of literature. His nineteen books have been shortlisted for major national prizes in fiction (the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, for his most recent novel, The Tinsmith, in 2012), nonfiction (the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize) and poetry (the Governor General’s Award and Canadian Authors Association Award), and in 2008 the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Bowling a fellowship recognizing his entire body of work. His writing has also been nominated twelve times for the Alberta Literary Awards and nine times for the City of Edmonton Book Prize.


  • 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. - Sue Carter, Toronto NOW Link to review
  • 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. - Tanya Rohrmoser, Quill and Quire Link to review
  • There's enough humour and narrative action to keep the storyline compelling even as it meanders through thoughtful interludes.... "The Heavy Bear" is an inventive, introspective and thoroughly rewarding novel. - Lindy, Lindy Reads and Reviews Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Wolsak & Wynn



rights available: World, excl. North America

Additional Information

number of pages: 240

publication date: 06/12/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book