Grant is a retired professor of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic literature and husband to Fiona, who has dementia. “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” tells the story of Fiona moving into a residential care facility… read analysis of Grant
Fiona, Grant’s wife, grew up relatively carefree in an upper-class home yet now, in her seventies, has dementia. She is a beautiful and charismatic woman who chose Grant out of an array of suitors… read analysis of Fiona
Aubrey is temporarily a resident at Meadowlake while his wife and primary caregiver, Marian, goes to Florida for the winter; he becomes Fiona’s beloved companion at the facility. Grant describes Aubrey as maybe his… read analysis of Aubrey
Marian is Aubrey’s wife. Grant first sees her unfolding a wheelchair in the Meadowlake parking lot after her return from a vacation in Florida, readying herself to take Aubrey back home. Grant describes Marian… read analysis of Marian
Jacqui Adams is the first woman with whom Grant has an affair. She is middle-aged, already married, and enrolled in one of his courses at the university as part of a larger new wave of… read analysis of Jacqui Adams
This “girl,” who remains unnamed throughout the story, was a student with whom Grant had an affair. After ending the affair, Grant received a letter from the girl’s roommate, condemning his actions and informing him… read analysis of The Girl
Grant’s colleague, who remains unnamed, is the person to whom he shows the letter from his ex-lover’s roommate. While Grant recollects his colleague as “among the first to throw away their neckties and leave… read analysis of Colleague
Fiona’s father, who passed away many years before the events of the story, was a wealthy and important cardiologist whom Grant remembers as “subservient at home.” He retires alone to the farmhouse where he… read analysis of Fiona’s Father
Fiona’s mother is Icelandic, vocal about left-wing politics, and conversationally dominating over Fiona’s father. Fiona inherits her mother’s striking hair.
Grant’s mother is a small-town widow and doctor’s receptionist. Grant remembers her being alarmed by Fiona’s mother’s long hair, as a larger symbol of her “attitudes and politics.” He also sees her as more similar to Marian, Aubrey’s wife, labeling both of them as “practical people.”
Mr. Farquhar is a bachelor farmer and neighbor to Fiona and Grant. He moved to Meadowlake years before Fiona does, before the facility had been remodeled, and Grant remembers visiting him there while on his way to move Fiona in for the first time.
Boris and Natasha
Boris and Natasha are Fiona’s beloved Afghan Wolfhounds, whom she adopts after learning that she cannot have children. One of the signs of the increasing severity of Fiona’s dementia is her forgetting that Boris and Natasha are dead.