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The Clan of the Cave Bear School & Library Binding – Nov 1984

4.7 out of 5 stars 358 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • School & Library Binding: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval (November 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0808516701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0808516705
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 331 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 358 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,285,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, have little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the "Others." Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health--a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.

Although Jean Auel obviously takes certain liberties with the actions and motivations of all our ancestors, her extensive research into the Ice Age does shine through--especially in the detailed knowledge of plants and natural remedies used by the medicine woman and passed down to Ayla. Mostly, though, this first in the series of four is a wonderful story of survival. Ayla's personal evolution is a compelling and relevant tale. --Sara Nickerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Imaginative, exciting."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Jean Auel has performed a minor miracle."
--San Francisco Chronicle
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First few chapters were fantastic. Having a hard time getting halfway through the book... Drags on... sets the scene and stage a bit too long... Loses my interest. Hoping it picks up in the second half!
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I reread this book recently after having read it for the first time 15 years ago and I enjoyed it again. The setting is somewhere in Eastern Europe about 35,000 years ago. The premise is that 2 divergent human species occupy Europe at that time. After a horrible earthquake, the medicine woman of the Clan of the Cave Bear finds an orphaned and injured young girl of the 'Other' type of humans. Ayla is cared for and loved by the aged and scarred priest Creb and his medicine woman sister Iza who act as her parents. But she looks different and her way of thinking is different than the ways of her adoptive people, (presumably Neanderthals, while she herself is Cro-Magnon?) and she struggles for acceptance.
The story covers approximately 9 years of Ayla's life from the age of 5 until the age of 14. Although we are lead to believe that she was born to people that are taller, more agile and more innovative than the Clan people, Ayla is the only person of her kind that we encounter in this story. The traits of Ayla's people are determined based on her fragmented memories and her own emerging talents as she grows. The Clan people are stockier and stronger than Ayla and communicate mostly with sign language while Ayla recalls communicating verbally.
The Clan people rely heavily on inherited memory and have clearly defined gender roles, which Ayla continually grapples with. She cannot restrain her curiosity and she is constantly challenging the rules with her aberrant behavior. Ayla wants to learn to hunt with a sling, but it is forbidden. She learns the art of healing from her new mother, but because she is not a birth daughter, the members of the clan have reservations. She has a grasp of mathematics and the gift of sight that would make her a good priestess, but that path is not open to women.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Clan Of The Cave Bears is a story of a young girls journey from a homeless child to a young woman raised by a people different then those biologically related to her. Ayla was five when her people were killed in a devastating earthquake. After wandering alone for weeks she is found unconscious by a medicine woman of a homeless Clan. The leader of this Clan sees her as a pet project for his sister Iza, the medicine woman, and believes she would die even with her help. After being nursed back to help she is raised in the ways of the Clan by Iza and her brother, Creb. After a series of events leads the leader's son to an intense hatred of her, Ayla's life takes a different turn than she imagined. She struggles to cope with her differences between her and the people she loves and for acceptance of the Clan. The book takes you through age five to her early teenage years. Jean M. Auel never fails to show the changes in Ayla's personality and thoughts and she becomes a woman. The people of the Clan change as well: Ayla changed their lives forever giving them a unique status when they join several Clans for the Clan Gathering.
Ayla discovers many different things, that extend well beyond her own inventions and into cultural differences of her foster-people and her. Her difference from the Clan extends well beyond appearance, but that is conquered by her love for her foster parents, Iza and Creb, changing her and their way of thinking forever. As the first in a series of five books this is a wonderful beginning to the life of Ayla, a young girl lost in the woods of her differences to her "family." I found this book wonderful to read and could not wait to read the next in the series after this one.
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I love this book! I read it years ago and when I discovered the fifth book is out in paperback, I bought it again since I knew that winter was coming. I needed something to keep me busy in those long winter evenings. This book is the best medicine for us winter-weary folks!
The book starts with Ayla who loses her parents in an earthquake and was found, wandering around delirious with pain from four lion scratches on her legs and delirious from hunger, by Iza, a Medicine woman. In spite of her "otherness" Ayla is adopted into the clan. And that is just the beginning of her tribulations and trimuphs. Ayla is not perfect but she's such a fascinating character to read ~~ I don't care if she's almost perfect. I can escape into her story and be glad of a cozy fire at my feet while the wind is howling outside!
If you're interested in historical fiction with a good story ~~ this book is it. It's engrossing and full of rich details of primitive lifestyle ~~ it makes you wonder if they really are that different from all of us. They live, hunt, eat, love and bear babies and die ~~ like us. Just their tools and surroundings are a lot cruder than our living standards. It's a great book to escape into. Perfect for those long winter nights.
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The main reason I was interested in reading Mrs. Auel's Earth's Children series was the unusual setting. There are very few fiction books that deal with the beginning of men as a species.
Auel's work must be praised because she was able to picture a very vivid Neanderthalian clan; most of what we know today about neanderthals is speculation based on anthropological findings, since they lived in pre-historical times. Auel's researched is very complete and extense, and it shows in her book. Characters, situations, huntings, clan-dealings, everything is easy to imagine and follow as we read, because tha author's style of writing is smooth and visually powerful. This story is, obviously, just another speculation, but a very interesting one.
The main character is Ayla. She's not a Neanderthal; she comes from the Others, a different sub-species, more advanced physically and mentally. Ayla lost her parents in an earthquake when she was very small, and was found and rescued by the neanderthalian clan. There, in spite of her differences, she struggles to be accepted and respected as a member of the clan.
Auel's book is good because the characters are deeply developed, not only Ayla, but most of the clan people as well. There's a little difficulty for the reader to get acquainted with the unusual names and the function of each clan member, but once past that the reading is great. There's not much action in the story, but it never drags on. The main feature is, no doubt, the relationship between Ayla and the rest of the clan.
I hope the other books in the series keep the good writing.
Grade 8.8/10
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