Lisa Gornick, Louisa Meets Bear

Lisa Gornick

Louisa Meets Bear

Thursday, June 18, 7pm

When Louisa and Bear meet at Princeton in 1975, sparks fly. Louisa is the sexually adventurous daughter of a geneticist, Bear the volatile son of a plumber. They dive headfirst into a passionate but explosive affair that will alter the course of their lives, changing how they define themselves in the years and relationships that follow. Louisa Meets Bear is a gripping collection of linked stories from an author whose work "starts off like a brushfire and then engulfs and burns with fury" (The Huffington Post).

Reading Louisa Meets Bear is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, as we uncover the subtle and startling connections between new characters and the star-crossed lovers. We meet a daughter who stabs her mother when she learns the truth about her father, a wife who sees herself clearly after finding a man dead on her office floor, a mother who discovers a girl in her teenage son’s bed. Each character is striking, each rendered with Gornick’s trademark sympathy and psychological acuity. We follow them from San Francisco to New York City and from Guatemala to Venice, from 1961 to 2009, through pregnancies, tragedies, and revelations, until we return to Louisa and Bear.

With the deeply human, flawed characters of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, and with Alice Munro’s piercing insight into the lives of women, Louisa Meets Bear grapples with whether we can—or can’t—choose how and whom we love,

Lisa Gornick is the author of the just released “novel in fragments,” Louisa Meets Bear (Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which received starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist,  as well as  two earlier novels: Tinderbox (Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and A Private Sorcery (Algonquin).   Her stories and essays have appeared widely, including in AGNIThe New York Times, Prairie Schooner, and Slate, and have received many awards, including a distinguished story citation in the Best American Short Stories anthology.  She holds a B.A. from Princeton and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale, and is a graduate of the writing program at NYU and the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at


Praise for Louisa Meets Bear:

“Lisa Gornick is . . . one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America. All of that is on display in Louisa Meets Bear, her third and finest book . . . [Gornick is] committed to having her characters speak for themselves, and she doesn't force resolutions just because they'd be convenient. That's part of what makes Louisa Meets Bear such a wonderful, perfectly executed novel - it's not just the beautiful writing, it's the honesty behind it, which she commits to even when it's brutal. '[I]n the end, this is everyone's fate: our remains outstrip our lives,' one character reflects. It may not be comforting, but it's true, and it takes a writer as immensely talented and brave as Gornick to say it.”

—Michael Schaub,


“Gornick, a former psychotherapist, delves deeply in to the emotional repercussions of the connections we make throughout our lifetimes . . . [An] exquisite, intricately woven novel.”

—Jane Ciabattari,


“Achingly eloquent . . . Discovering what binds—and divides—these characters is one of this volume’s many rewards.”

—Cathleen Medwick, More


“Gornick’s brilliantly constructed third novel offers a seamless series of events, spanning from 1961 to 2009, that explore the full spectrum of life in all its bizarre coincidences, tragedies, and passions . . . At its heart is the torrid relationship between Louisa and Bear that, decades later, comes full circle in a remarkably revelatory way. Gornick captures all the heartbreak and joy of what it is to be human.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“[A] delicately nuanced and emotionally perceptive novel of interconnected stories  . . . Gornick’s exploration of loneliness and loss, private connections and personal upheavals resonates with comforting familiarity and profound brilliance. Utterly human and keenly humane, her heroes and heroines are our friends and enemies, our very selves for better and worse.”

—Carol Haggas, Booklist (starred review)

“Extraordinary writing; I fell in love on the first page.”

—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Lisa Gornick’s new book is a kind of cat’s cradle narrative, a series of intricate, beautifully-made stories linking a group of people through time and place. Gornick has a wonderfully observant eye and a deeply compassionate heart, and the book radiates with energy, intelligence and empathy.”

—Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta

“Louisa meets Bear, and the lucky reader of this wonderful collection of linked stories meets an unforgettable group of characters who are connected to each other in ways that surprise and delight. Lisa Gornick has a gift for the telling moment and has achieved something lovely and unusual with this captivating book.”

—Ann Packer, bestselling author of Songs Without Words

“In her intelligent, masterful stories of love and family, Lisa Gornick writes with an intensity and intimacy about  women and men whose lives prove just as complex and contradictory, as passionate and as real as our own. A lovely, convincing, and moving collection.”

—Michelle Huneven, author of Blame and Off Course

Louisa Meets Bear burns bright! In these intertwined stories, fireworks set off in one character’s bedroom smolder on another’s roof. Lisa Gornick traces how we’re all connected, whether through friendship, family, or whose beds we’ve slept in. Love blazes through her smart, insightful collection, written with tremendous insight and grace.”

—Mary Kay Zuravleff, author of Man Alive

Event date: 
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
54 Fairfield St.
07042-4137 Montclair
Tinderbox: A Novel By Lisa Gornick Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781250055378
Published: Picador - September 2nd, 2014