ê Read ê The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel ê Note, March 25, 2014 I edited this review slightly just now, to delete one accidental dittography Hmmm, I thought I d proofread this Auel s Earth s Children series this opening volume was followed by, so far, four sequels garners mixed and mostly negative reviews here on Goodreads Though none of them have reviewed it, a dozen of my Goodreads friends have given it ratings, ranging from one star to five Obviously, my own reaction falls at the favorable end of the spectrum.
Ayla, of course, is a Cro Magnon i.
, an anatomically modern human you and I are Cro Magnons too, in that anthropological sense orphaned by a natural disaster and raised by a clan of Neanderthals For a writer of historical fiction, a prehistoric setting poses a challenge technically, the genre embraces any fiction set in the past, but its authors usually depend heavily on written records f This was a great pick I thoroughly enjoyed this read Set during prehistoric times, Ayla s Home and her family are lost to a devastating earthquake Homeless and alone she wanders the land, barely surviving, until she is found by Iza a member of The Clan Ayla struggles to fit in and to be accepted by The Clan, its customs foreign to her Their treatment of women being the main hurdle all women are below men in status, expected to cook for the men, never to ignore a direct order from a man and certainly never allowed to hunt As time progresses The Clan become accustomed to the different girl, and she integrates But not everyone is so understanding Broud, the son of the Clan leader hates Ayla fiercely and will do whatever necessary to bring her down With some scenes slightly shocking, I couldn t stop turning the pages This novel was full I once read an article from National Geographic in which the author had spent some time living with a Stone Age tribe in Africa The people were a studied anachronism, living in modern times, but within a carefully maintained atavistic society of hunting and gathering Most endearing of this study was the author s observations about the interactive dialogue amongst the members of the tribe One wife would say to her husband, another woman has three beads, I only have two, I wish I had a husband who could work hard and provide Another would say to his young son, is that how you skin a kill Here let me show you how it is done Human nature does not change.
And so we come to Jean Auel s magnificent anthropological narrative of a young Cro Magnon girl orphaned by her family and raised by a group of Neanderthals This read like a study of the group, si I could easily sit between a red faced evolutionist and a screaming creationist, both arguing around me, and quite contentedly finish any book I was reading I m no Louis Leakey, people I m no Tammy Faye Baker, either.
I am, in fact, an anthropological airhead, and arguing with me about creationism or evolution is like trying to convince me to become interested in my car s transmission Whatever the hell that is.
Ain t going to happen, folks.
I figure if I don t personally have the ability to prove or disprove a theory or identify a transmission , I m just going to sit back, relax and focus on the stories.
I love stories.
And, since it turned out that my end of summer fantasy of having sex with Viggo Mortensen in a cave off of the Mediterranean Sea wasn t going to happen, I started searching for a story that would have an adventurous feel to it And, you know maybe some cave sex
Circa 30,000 years ago in the lands surrounding the broad Black Sea , in future Europe, a cataclysmic event occurred, not very unusual there, but still to the superstitious Ice Age people , a devastating occurrence A family of Cro Magnons, the first modern humans, our direct ancestors, were wiped out, near a small river, all except a little girl named Ayla , just five, she liked to sneak away and jump joyously into the stream, at dawn, a swimmer before the child could walk The shaking soil and rumbling sounds frightened the girl, all her relatives, inside a lean to hut, disappeared beneath the earth, as if a giant beast swallowed them, never to be seen again Alone, not knowing how to survive, or where to go, she wanders for days drinking the cle I really wanted to dig this book I have a burgeoning obsession with prehistory, evolution, and the antecedents of man, and a tale of Cro Magnons and Neanderthals is exactly what I d love to read.
Sadly, this book does not contain that tale.
Instead, it s a goopy mess of inane metaphysics, prurience for prurience s sake, and a none too subtle dollop of racism, as the blonde haired and light skinned heroine shows the primitive and darker skinned Neanderthals how to do well, just about everything.
This is a white man s burden fantasy writ large, and not writ very well.
The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M Auel The Clan of the Cave Bear is an epic work of prehistoric fiction by Jean M Auel about prehistoric times It is the first book in the Earth s Children book series which speculates on the possibilities of interactions between Neanderthal and modern Cro Magnon humans A five year old girl, Ayla, whom readers come to understand is Cro Magnon, is orphaned and left homeless by an earthquake that destroys her family s camp She wanders aimlessly, naked and unable to feed herself, for several days Having been attacked and nearly killed by a cave lion and suffering from starvation, exhaustion, and infection of her wounds, she collapses, on the verge of death The narrative switches to a group of people who call themselves The Clan and whom we come to unders