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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars realistic - and magical, 24 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Hardcover)
This is a hellaciously entertaining read: funny, melancholy, erotic, scathingly satirical. And the language occasionally reaches magical heights of realism. There are webs of words in here that will give you glimpses of actual experience itself - surely the ultimate writer's conjuring trick. The book's hero incarnates an audacious leap of the imagination: he's a Caucasian circus bear, who can talk, reads literature, studies mysticism, and... plays the alto sax. The Bear heightens the duality of human nature - part angel, part animal - in order to explore it. It's a satirical premise that illuminates many of the contradictions lurking in the depths of our contemporary social mythos - our ambivalence towards Nature red in tooth and claw, our reduction of even the most transcendent art to commodity, our acceptance of lives that are pale shadows of their potential. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a professional musician, The Bear Comes Home will satisfy your curiosity. If you've ever been involved in the performing arts, you will recognize many of the situations. Among its many treasures, The Bear is stunningly effective as an evocation of the seemingly constant frustration and occasional epiphanies of the creative process. It's also a dead-on portrait of the jazz life, a deeply felt exploration of the complexity of human relationships. Most amazingly, The Bear himself never collapses into a man in a bear suit. It's not that tough to devise and describe an unusual protagonist. But by the third act, even faerie queens and immortal vampires descend to the same petty, mundane emotions that drive your personal soap opera as relentlessly as they do mine. The Bear is different. Although the situations he lives through are achingly human, The Bear is never quite, no matter how much Rumi he reads, how deeply he loves, how fanatically he explores the possibilities of his horn. You've never met anyone quite like The Bear, and unless you read this book, you never will.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for every jazz fan!, 13 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Hardcover)
I didn't know it was possible to write about jazz like Rafi Zabor does. I didn't know it was possible to communicate exactly what goes on in the human (or ursine) brain as one improvises music. Playing music involves an utterly non-linguistic involvement with an abstract matrix of mathematical/auditory relationships that are somehow tied in with our emotional and spiritual nature...but I could never put it into words. Zabor did.
What a read! Be warned, though, that even if you have an immense vocabulary, you will run across words you haven't yet encountered. I enjoy this -- I like to learn new words -- but occasionally Zabor's style can seem a little forced, a little hyperintellectual.
If you play music, this is required reading. And if you listen to jazz...well, this will explain to you what is going through the minds of the guys and gals on stage. Five stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly sustained anthropormorphic adventure., 3 Aug. 2000
By 
davidbb@hotmail.com (Home Counties, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Paperback)
The story of a sentient, talking jazz-playing bear and his adventures in the human world. What, in other hands, might have become a recipe for mawkishness and banality has been made by Rafi Zabor into an enchanting and quirky novel that is at times moving, hilarious, and informative. Follow that bear as he escapes from the bondage of literally playing dumb animal and attempts to succeed in the world of ordinary humans (and jazz musicians) and works out his relationship with his fomer 'owner'.
This book is so comprehensive that it even includes advice on safe ursine sex . You don't get that from most modern fiction.
I wait with frustation bordering on the pathological for Mr. Zabor's next novel.
Please e-mail your reactions, if you wish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishingly adept anthropormorphic adventure., 6 Aug. 2000
By 
davidbb@hotmail.com (Home Counties, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Paperback)
The story of a sentient, talking jazz-playing bear and his adventures in the human world. What, in other hands, might have become a recipe for mawkishness and banality has been made by Rafi Zabor into an enchanting and quirky novel that is at times moving, hilarious, and informative. Follow that bear as he escapes from the bondage of literally playing dumb animal and attempts to succeed in the world of ordinary humans (and jazz musicians) and works out his relationship with his fomer 'owner.
I wait with frustation bordering on the pathological for Mr. Zabor's next novel.
Please e-mail your reactions, if you wish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The virtual bridge between music, love and self., 31 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Hardcover)
Truly one of the funniest books I've read. One of the more complicated elements of music, jazz is often misunderstood, with it's complex rhythms and changing tones. Zabor does justice in finding the balance between life, love and jazz through expressing the melody of one's goal to find their place in the world. The "Bearism's" are fantastic!!! If you are a new comer to jazz, this is the book to read. Zabor, I can't wait for the next one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I took 1 star off because the book ended., 17 Aug. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Hardcover)
I didn't want it to end. The Bear was maybe, finally, figuring out where his improbable life fit in the universal scheme of things. And why was Iris, the woman he loved, laughing?
If you like jazz, you'll love this book. Even though I know nothing of the mechanics of making music I could feel the cool refrains coming from the Bear's alto sax.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating read - romantic, witty and full of insight, 27 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Bear Comes Home (Paperback)
Simply the best book I've read for years. The scenario, a saxophone-playing bear, doesn't bode well but Zabor magically evokes a bohemian world of doomed friendship, bittersweet love and wonderful music. Very special and very moving.
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The Bear Comes Home
The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor (Paperback - 4 Feb. 1999)
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