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The thing that strikes me most about her work is that every time there s a new discovery about how paleolithic people lived, it goes along with her stories Things they said were silly back when she wrote it Neanderthals with instruments, Neanderthals living with homo sapiens sapiens, and the like keep proving true She presents interesting ideas of cognition, culture and how societies develop The first two books are her best I think The rest remain interesting if you can deal with the constant repetition, soft core porn and the fact that Ayla discovers everything but cold fusion Clan of the Cave Bear is an incredible, courageous story The author spent a lot of time hanging out with some of the world s most noted paleontologists doing her research and she knows her stuff 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.Neanderthal cave sex Now, if you re a creationist and you re getting worried about my language here, why don t we just replace the word Neanderthal for ex boyfriends or my high school baseball team And if you re an anthropologist and you re getting worried that I know no concrete facts about the evolution of man, I apologize for my inability to truly understand that a Neanderthal is something different from an ex boyfriend or my high school baseball team Everybody feeling good now Sort of More confused than ever So, back to the question that you never asked and possibly would never even wonderdid I find excellent cave sex in this book of Neanderthals or primitive man, or whatever in hell these little sloped forehead, hairy pygmies are supposed to be Well, does this answer your question In this primitive society, sex was as natural and unrestrained as sleeping or eating Children learnedas they learned other skills and customs, by observing adults, and they played at intercourse as they mimicked other activities from a young age Often a boy who reached puberty, but had not yet made his first kill and existed in a limbo between child and adult, penetrated a girl child even before she reached menarche Hymens were pierced young, though males were a little fearful if blood was spilled and quickly ignored the girl if it happenedAin t nothing sexy about that paragraph.Ms Auel do you understand that I ve been home with my children all summer No sleepaway camp, no evenings out on the town Nada, lady.It s been a long, hot summer And I don t mean sexy hot I mean damn, it s been in the 90s forever.I wanted to read about cave sex, not these little freaks.And what s with their dialogue reading like Shakespearean soliloquies, when you clearly point out that these people can t dothan grunt and move their hands in rudimentary gestures How now, Ms Auel Why do the Neanderthals talk with such sophistication And why did you need to take 10 pages to describe a green leaf that wasn t quite green, but gray, and transparent and fluttering in the breeze, with spots on it Just write the word leaf and let s move on.Ack I can t wait to return my copy.I m using some hand signals right now, Ms Auel Can you see them I don t like Neanderthals They re awful So s this book.I think I do prefer the Adam and Eve theory they re like the Barbie and Ken of the ancient world, and I bet they had sex in a proper hotel.And, just for the record, I hope the glorious angel Gabriel flies down from Heaven on a pterodactyl some day, and lands right on a street in New York City.I feel like we d all shut up at the same time and hum in peaceful wonder at our awesome existence.Plus, his stories would be amazing. 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, similar to Jared Diamond or Thor Heyerdahl, where she is an omnipresent and omniscient narrator of the life and times of Ayla as she grows up with the clan of Neanderthals, close relatives of humans, but distinct and different Auel masterfully creates a glimpse onto their complex social structures and group dynamics and describes Neanderthals with an instinctive, racial memory.Apart from the clearly well researched and thoughtful scientific examination of Neanderthal society, with a fairly complicated social structure and theological underpinnings, Auel also tells a fascinating story My only criticism would be the ending, which is somewhat predictable but also truncated with a deus ex machina that wraps things up just too neatly All in all, an excellent book that makes me want to read the other books in her Earth Children series. 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 of vivid descriptions, including the way cave people lived their local sources of food, clothing and intricate belief system A wonderful selection of characters, I was reminded of the Disney film Brother Bear where each Clan member has a spirit totem, in the form of an animal I was fully engrossed in this world, and look forward to continuing it. 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 clear waters of the river, that Ayla follows, eating anything edible nearby, growing hungrier, at last, her weakened body collapses on the ground But a small band of twenty Neanderthals, whose cave was destroyed in the earthquake too, and losing six of their members, are looking to discover another, find the child, but she is an Other , a strange species they avoid, easily done, the few scattered groups of men, rarely encounter anyone else in the vast world Iza, the wise medicine woman, feels sorry for the little girl, all alone , that nobody cares about and lifts her up, carrying the orphan away, she is saved Brun, the bold leader of the clan, her brother, is not happy , but lets Ayla stay, her other sibling Creb, the powerful spiritual chief of the band, that the rest of the tribe is afraid of, not just because he was born deformed, he radiates menace, half his body is effected, a cripple, only a lone leg works properly, and one piercing eye, on his hideous face, these three rule the Neanderthals, and Broud, the son of Brun, the heir apparent Maybe because the helpless girl is from a strange, mysterious, new people, Broud, takes an instant, quite insane hatred towards her, they don t resembles them, he thinks , a threat somehow, but for generations haven t been seen, until now, the Others, could compete later, for the scarce food supply, the wild animal herds that constantly roam the lonely steppes, by the cold glaciers from the north, they are always a danger too, and someday will start down again killing everything in their path Life is very precarious in the primitive, prehistorical times, the hunter gatherers humans , do not survive for long, a continuous struggle, to keep warm, get an adequate amount of food and shelter, escape unknown illnesses, with no cures, safety doesn t exist, there is little compassion for strangers, especially from the Others Ayla must adopt to her new clan, The Clan of the Cave Bear, learn a different language, unfamiliar customs, pray to unseen spirits, fit in, to endure, she has no choice, but her blonde hair and tall stature, weird, unattractive face, to the rest of the band, will always remind the Neanderthals , less brutish andintelligent than commonly believed she can never be like themAn interesting tale of an ancient, long gone era, but will we ever known how accurate this depiction is 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.e., 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 for events and background material, and for the Ice Age, no such records exist To her credit, Auel was the first writer in the genre to attempt it on a large scale though Jack London and William Golding each wrote single novels set in prehistory , and to popularize it sufficiently to create a market niche and a subgenre tradition that other writers have begun to develop In place of written records, she immersed herself in the exhaustive study of every known aspect of the physical evidence from the period, and all of the various scholarly interpretations of it Her reconstruction of both Cro Magnon and Neanderthal natural history, society and culture is of course speculative but it is based meticulously on this research Even thecontroversial features of her Neanderthals their Memories, a genetically transmitted racial memory of past experiences, and their difficulty with verbal speech and consequent preference for sign language have grounds in known Neanderthal physiology, such as their hyper developed back brains, which control memory Although Auel is an evolutionist, she recognizes Neanderthals as a branch of humanity and depicts them as fully human, not as the ape men who figure in London s Before Adam or Conan Doyle s The Lost World a point in her favor A weakness of Auel s writing is the converse of her strong research she has a tendency to want to divulge every iota of erudition she has on the Ice Age world, and doesn t always seamlessly integrate it into the narrative She also has a penchant for explicitly detailed sex, which in my estimation is not a plus Here, however, neither of these flaws are as marked as they are in the later books the latter because the plot here affords little occasion for it Ayla doesn t yet have a love interest, though that gets remedied later on IMO, her strong points outweigh these First and foremost, she has a capacity to create fully alive, three dimensional characters whom the reader can relate to positively or negatively just like real people Iza, Creb, Brun, Broud, even several of the minor characters and above all Ayla herself, as we watch her grow from a scared, traumatized child into a strong, highly competent and intelligent woman Indeed, she s much too strong, competent and intelligent for some of the Clan to accept in a woman and judging from critical and reader reactions, some moderns aren t very cool with it either That brings up another strong point of the book Auel s intelligent engaging of serious issues that are still relevant to our lives today Gender roles are the most obvious against the backdrop of the male dominated Clan, Ayla makes a lived out case for a genuine feminism of the equalitarian rather than male bashing sort that argues for social roles based on demonstrated ability and interests, not gender But the book also addresses issues of interracial and cross cultural relations, and the conflict between inflexible tradition and cultural inertia, represented by the change resistant Clan It s never been done before is leader Brun s characteristic refrain, which became a byword in our household , vs needed adaptation to changing conditions Also, Ayla s fight to save the life of her infant son conceived in a rape provides a powerful pro life message though that may well have been unintended on Auel s part But as D H Lawrence said, Trust the tale and not the teller All in all, I consider this one of the better contemporary American novels in any genre, and regard Ayla as one of the greatest fictional characters and best female role models in modern literature The series was one that I read out loud to my wife it also became one of her all time favorites, and she re reads it periodically on her own 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 theprimitive 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. &Pdf ☠ The Clan of the Cave Bear ⇞ This Novel Of Awesome Beauty And Power Is A Moving Saga About People, Relationships, And The Boundaries Of Love Through Jean M Auel S Magnificent Storytelling We Are Taken Back To The Dawn Of Modern Humans, And With A Girl Named Ayla We Are Swept Up In The Harsh And Beautiful Ice Age World They Shared With The Ones Who Called Themselves The Clan Of The Cave Bear A Natural Disaster Leaves The Young Girl Wandering Alone In An Unfamiliar And Dangerous Land Until She Is Found By A Woman Of The Clan, People Very Different From Her Own Kind To Them, Blond, Blue Eyed Ayla Looks Peculiar And Ugly She Is One Of The Others, Those Who Have Moved Into Their Ancient Homeland But Iza Cannot Leave The Girl To Die And Takes Her With Them Iza And Creb, The Old Mog Ur, Grow To Love Her, And As Ayla Learns The Ways Of The Clan And Iza S Way Of Healing, Most Come To Accept Her But The Brutal And Proud Youth Who Is Destined To Become Their Next Leader Sees Her Differences As A Threat To His Authority He Develops A Deep And Abiding Hatred For The Strange Girl Of The Others Who Lives In Their Midst, And Is Determined To Get His Revenge 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 understand are Neanderthal, whose cave was destroyed in the earthquake and who are searching for a new home The medicine woman of the group, Iza, discovers the girl and asks permission from Brun, the head of the Clan, to help the ailing child, despite the child being clearly a member of the Others, the distrusted antagonists of the Clan The child is adopted by Iza and her brother Creb Creb is this group s Mog ur or shaman, despite being deformed as a result of the difficult birth resulting from his abnormally large head and the later loss of an arm and eye after being attacked by a cave bear The Clan worship spiritual representations of Earthly animals called totems , whom they believe can influence their lives by way of good or bad luck and for whom Mog ur acts as an intermediary Brun agrees to allow Iza to treat the dying child and to adopt her only if Creb can discover her personal totem spirit 20031381 585 1389 9789643620417 20