DG is being talked about again! This time for his apparent predilection for writing about weird sex (a Canadian thing, according to the author, Jeet Heer, who is, by the way, an otherwise estimable journalist), especially with large, hairy omnivores. DG has gone from being famous for being unknown to transforming bestiality into art. He thinks: Has anyone actually read the book? No one has sex with an animal in his novel! The heroine turns into a bear and grows extra sets of nipples, but she only has sex with humans. (Of course, this will no doubt disappoint many NC readers, a rowdy crowd, usually up for that sort of thing.)
As Katherine Monk points out in her book Weird Sex & Snowshoes, Canadian filmmakers are notable for their interest in outré forms of passion. Think of the acrobatic sexual positions displayed in the movies of Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, and Denys Arcand.
I’m wondering whether a similar fixation on erotic outrageousness isn’t also a running theme in Canadian literature: after all, the Governor General’s Award has twice been given to novels that feature a woman having sex with a bear (Marian Engel’s Bear and Douglas Glover’s Elle). [My emphasis.]
In many ways, bears make a natural sex symbol. With their hairiness, burliness, and wary aggression, bears embody a certain ideal of rugged Northern masculinity (notably among a subset of husky gay men). The image of ursine/human mating is redolent of both folklore (Beauty and the Beast) and mythology (the many occasions when Zeus took an animal guise in order to seduce a nubile maiden).
via “Sex, Prose, and the Veggie Aisle” by Jeet Heer | The Walrus Blog.
Okay, the last paragraph is interesting. Suddenly, bears come into focus for dg as attractive, sexual beings. He can see a canoe trip novel, something in Algonquin Park, a hunky male human of uncertain sexual orientation falls for a gay bear. All sorts of hanky panky ensues, while canoe-loads of campers look on in amazement.
Joking aside, you really ought to look at Marian Engel’s novel Bear, possibly the best book ever written about a woman having an affair with a bear.