...[a] funny, subtle and strangely moving fable about the bonds that unite, and the gulfs that divide, humans and other animals ... Ms Tawada brings her fine-nosed, soft-furred beasts credibly to life. The eerie tales told by Kafka’s animal narrators have left deep claw-marks on this book. Ms Tawada, though, has a deadpan wit and disorienting mischief all her own, nimbly translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky.
One of the features of our species, as Tawada reminds us, is that we are curious about other species...The trouble is that there is no reset. The creatures — both human and animal — have been changed by one another. The question is how we learn to love something without devouring it ... Memoirs of a Polar Bear hums with beautiful strangeness. Look at the animals we are. Look at us searching for love, for meaning, for our own true forms.