Book Reviews

Book Review: Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M Auel (1988).

An amazing classic, Clan of the Cave Bear has been a renowned fiction novel that brings forth the convergence of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon people, in a time of Mammoths and giant Cave Lions. We follow the story of Ayla, an orphaned Cro-Magnon child, orphaned in an earthquake, and attacked by a Cave Lion. As she lay close to death, she is found by a clan of people very different to herself, and it is Iza the Clan medicine woman who takes an unusual interest in the strange child. This begins the tale of how Ayla grows to adulthood with the strange people known as The Clan.

Jean M Auel gives readers a beautifully written look at a world long before modern day man, giving numerous well described examples of what life may have been like in that time. She goes into such depth with detail, the plants and animals almost become alive, and the Clan people almost step from the pages with features so well portrayed!

Ayla goes through many challenges, both great and small, as she matures and grows into a woman amongst the people of the clan. After being accepted as Clan, she first had to learn their language and customs, and how to behave as any other Clan female. Most importantly she had to live by their laws which were long etched into their history. This being of course the most difficult part, especially since her heart and mind never really conformed completely with “Clan Ways”.

There are some difficult scenes not necessarily for the faint hearted. Though maybe somewhat disturbing, really depict the simplicity of our ancestors giving a whole new meaning to modern man! But more than this the novel depicts whole heartedly the trials and tribulations Ayla must endure to remain one with the clan, as well as the emotional roller-coaster that includes birth, life and death.

Overall, I believe The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel is an amazing novel that really shows life before civilisation and how evolution changed the destiny of those known as Clan. I recommend this book to anyone interested in fiction, in the adult age group and I give thus book the rating of 9.5/10 stars

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