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text 2018-05-07 14:08
The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6) by Jean M. Auel
The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children Series - Jean M Auel,Rowena Cooper,Hodder Headline Limited
This is the final book in the Earth's Children series and it follows the journey of Ayla, as she attempts to become a Zelandonia (read: medicine woman) of her adopted tribe the Zelandonii. Ayla must survive in a prehistoric world in which danger lurks at every corner and life is dependent upon gathering from the land, while going through rigorous training which will test all of the skills that she has developed to date. Most people who train for the Zelandonii are not mated, let alone have children and so this journey will test Ayla's  relationship with Jondalar - the first human she met after being expelled from the Clan.  Will Ayla finally come full circle and be welcomed and cherished by the others from whom she was seperated from so many years ago?
I know that normally when we a review a series, we start with book one and follow through until the end but because I first read clan of the Cave Bear when I was a pre-teen and didn't know until recently that Auel had finally gotten around to finishing the series, starting at the beginning just felt like too much. Including a review of The Land of Painted Caves is a bit of a stretch on Fangs for the Fantasy given that it's not exactly paranormal; however, it does fall clearly into the realm of historical fantasy.  Auel has clearly done a lot of research into the tools used in prehistoric times and created a world which includes a creation myth and a religion that we can only imagine because not much survives from this time.  
The Land of Painted Caves is seven hundred and fifty-seven pages long and could easily have been cut down by a minimum of three hundred pages.  It was only my determination to see this story through to the end because of the fact that I started this series so young which caused me to  persevere to the end. It's quite possible to skip entire pages at a time and not miss a single thread of the story. The Land of Painted Caves is absolutely the definition of over written and pointless. 
It's not surprising that given the fact that modern science as we understand it is thousands of years away in The Land of Painted Caves that Auel had her characters worship natural spirits.  It makes sense to me that Auel had the Zelandonii practice a form of earth based religion; however, said worship quickly became tedious. Because the Zelandonii are in a pre written word stage of development, they practice an oral tradition of passing on information.  Auel took this oral tradition too far because she insisted on writing "The Mother's Song" repeatedly throughout the novel.  
Out of the darkness, the chaos of time,
the whirlwind gave birth to the Mother sublime.
She woke to Herself knowing life had great worth,
the dark empty void grieved the Great Mother Earth.
The Mother was lonely. She was the only.
From the dust of Her birth she created the other,
A pale shining friend, a companion, a brother.
They grew up together, learned to love and to care,
And when She was ready, they decided to pair.
Around Her he'd hover. Her pale shining lover.
She was happy at first with her one counterpart.
Then the Mother grew restless, unsure in Her heart.
She loved Her fair friend, Her dear complement,
But something was missing, Her love was unspent.
She was the Mother. She needed another.
She dared the great void, the chaos, the dark,
To find the cold home of the life-giving spark.
The whirlwind was fearsome, the darkness complete.
Chaos was freezing, and reached for Her heat. 
The mother was brave. the danger was grave.
She drew from cold chaos the creative source,
Then conceiving within, She fled with life force.
She grew with life that She carried inside.
And gave of Herself with love and with pride.
The Mother was hearing. her life She was sharing.
With a thunderous roar Her stones split asunder,
And from the great cave that opened deep under,
She birthed once again from her cavernous heart,
Bringing forth all the creatures of Earth from the start,
From the Mother forlorn, more children were born.
Each child was different, some were large and some small, 
Some could walk and some fly, some could swim and some crawl.
But each form was perfect, each spirit complete,
Each one was a model whose shape could repeat.
The Mother was willing. The green earth was filling,
All the birds an the fish and the animals born,
Would not leave the Mother, this time, to mourn.
Each kind would live near the place of its birth,
And share the expanse of the Great Mother Earth.
Close to Her they would stay. They could not run away.
They all were her children, they filled her with pride
But they used up the life force she carried inside.
She had enough left for a last innovation,
A child who'd remember Who made the creation,
A child who'd respect. And learn to protect. 
First Woman was born full frown and alive,
And given the Gifts she would need to survive.
Life was the First Gift, and like Mother Earth,
She woke to herself knowing life had great worth.
First Woman defined. The first of her kind.
Next was the Gift of Perception, of learning,
The desire to know, the Gift of Discovering,
First Woman was given the knowledge within,
That would help her to live, then impart to her kin.
First Woman would know. How to learn, how to grow. 
Her life force near gone, the Mother was spent,
To pass on Life's Spirit had been Her intent.
She caused all of Her children to create life anew,
And Woman was blessed to bring forth life, too.
But Woman was lonely. She was the only.
The Mother remembered Her own loneliness
The love of Her friend and his hovering caress,
With the last spark remaining, Her labor began,
To share life with Woman, She created First Man.
Again She was giving, One more was living.
To Woman and Man the Mother gave birth,
And then for their home, She gave them the Earth,
The water, the land, and all Her creation.
To use them with care was their obligation. 
It was their home to use, But never abuse.
For the Children of Earth the Mother provided,
The Gifts to survive, and then She decided,
To give them the Gift of Pleasure and caring,
That honors the Mother with the joy of their sharing.
The Gifts are well earned, When honor's returned.
The Mother was pleased with the pair she created,
She taught them to love and to care when they mated.
She mad them desire to join with each other,
The Gift of their Pleasures came from the Mother.
Before She was through, Her children loved too.
Her last Gift, the Knowledge that man has his part.
His need must be spent before new life can start.
It honors the Mother when the couple is paired,
Because woman conceived when Pleasures are shared.
Earth's Children were blessed. The could rest. 
Reading this horrendous poem one time in an over seven hundred word tome, is not necessarily a bad thing but reading it repeatedly because for some bizarre reason, Auel was determined that readers be beat over the head with her creation myth is just not forgivable. I perhaps could have gotten over the poem that just wouldn't end if Auel didn't decide to send Ayla on a tour of supposed sacred caves. On Ayla's first trip in, I read through the speculation as to why there were paintings on the cave walls, as well as justifications as to why said cave was supposedly sacred (note: because of echos apparently) and I really was fine with it but by about the tenth cave I was done. I found myself begging for mercy. How many times does one have to read about how amazing the long forgotten artist was or how important it was to create an echo to prove sacredness? Give it a rest already.  By the half way point, anytime they entered a cave I started skimming for the sake of my own sanity. 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/05/the-land-of-painted-caves-earths.html
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review 2017-11-27 15:24
The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel

This is the story of Ayla, a 5 year old Cro-Magnon girl orphaned by an earth quake and raised by a clan of Neanderthals.

The story hits on the issues of gender roles, feminism, sexism, religion, societal mores and cultural values and expectations and possibly even pro-life as Ayla fights for the life of her son Durc who was conceived when she was raped and appears deformed because he is a mix of the two races. 

It even talks to the problem of societal stagnation. The Neanderthal society has not changed for thousands of years as their brains are developed for "racial memory" which leaves no room for the the development of new ideas. The might Mog-ur, the clan priest/magician, realizes this as Ayla matures and challenges various aspects of the Neanderthal society. He see's that the Others (Cro-Magnon) are the future of mankind and rejoices that Ayla has a mixed race child so the the Clan (Neanderthals) will be carried on at least in some aspect.

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the other books on the series.

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review 2016-05-20 00:00
The Clan of the Cave Bear
The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel This was amazing!

There are possibly spoilers in this review, but not so much to ruin the book for anyone, at least I don't think so.

First, Ayla was an incredible character. She was born of the Others, but found and raised by the Clan. I can almost understand her plight a bit, as a black girl who grew up in predominately white neighborhoods and schools, I know what it was like to be the odd man out. To have people stare at you because you look different, to be treated as though you didn't belong. But there was always a person(s) who looked at you for who you were. Ayla found that in Iza, Creb, Uba, and many others. Iza loved her more than her biological daughter and Creb loved her as if she was his daughter as well. Uba loved her like a sister.

She proved that though she looked and even had different feelings and emotions, she could love and learn and work just like everyone else in the Clan. In a lot of ways she was better than the Clan. She didn't have their inherited memories, but she could learn and comprehend things that they couldn't. Creb knew it and it frightened him. I think he knew all along that the coming of the Others would mean the end of the Clan.

I didn't expect the amount abuse that she endured. Having watched the movie, can I just say it was a sad, sad representation of this book! She endured hate and ostracism and just flat out physical and emotional abuse--particularly from Broud, who was also not like the typical clan. He hated Ayla because she was not of the Clan; she looked and behaved differently. She was stronger and braver, and smarter than him and he envied her that. But that is not the way of the clan. He had violent tendencies and exhibited jealousy and yearned for revenge. Broud was very egotistical and cared more about his estimation of himself than he did the well-being of the Clan. These were definitely not traits of the Clan, so for as much as he despised Ayla for her differences, he was equally as different.

The Clan had very short life spans, they became men and hunters, women and mothers very, very young. Boys were hunters at 12 and some women were mothers at 10. They became physically old and died young as well. If a member of the Clan made it to their 30's it was ancient! For some people the ages at which certain events took place could be considered shocking, but to me it makes sense. They were cavemen. They lived hard, short lives; their brains and bodies were not developed the way people are today. They were short and bowlegged and barely stood upright. They were very stout with thick bones and protruding brows. Their brains were made for instinct and the memories they inherited at birth; they couldn't really learn new things, or think in new and critical ways. Ayla was thin and tall with straight legs and a 'flat' brow. She didn't develop into the Clan's expectation of womanhood until much later, and I expect she (and the Others) have a longer lifespan. She didn't have the same memories and instincts, but she could think for herself, and question things. Creb knew she was bright, but didn't think she was as smart as him. I think she was smarter. She just didn't have his life experiences to draw from.

I loved that Ayla was strong despite what Broud did to her over the years. For every rotten, hateful, and abusive thing he did to her, she came out of it a little stronger and braver than before. This, of course, only made Broud hate her even more. It was no surprise what he did to her when he finally became leader. I cannot believe that Brun was so blinded by his love for his son that he could not see that there was no changing Broud. More than that, I HATE that the bastard got to curse her in the end. I really wish she would have left with Durc before he became leader. I know Durc had a mate waiting for him when they came of age, but but with Ayla gone, he's at Broud's mercy. Iza, Creb and Ayla are gone, the cave is destroyed...what will happen to Durc, to the Clan? Will they have to move again? Will Ayla find the others? Will she return for Durc? Will Broud cause his Clan to fall apart because of his selfish tendencies? That's a definite yes if you ask me. But the only way to learn these things is to read the next in the series. I am so glad I finally took the time to read this book.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-04-09 22:42
The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel

CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR - It takes an author with a great deal of daring to attempt a tale with such an epic scope as this one. In Jean M Auel's novel, entitled 'The Clan of the Cave Bear', she explores the imagined interaction of our Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal ancestors. Based on interviews I have read, she was greatly inspired by research and archaeology, such as the Chauvet cave (see my blog for related posts). If you love high concept or historical fiction, you owe it to yourself to read this book!


Check out these links for related content!







(spoiler show)





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text 2015-11-13 21:11
Just Back from a Day Trip
The Prince of Tides - Pat Conroy
The Source - James A. Michener
The King of Torts - John Grisham
Three Hands in the Fountain - Lindsey Davis
The Mammoth Hunters - Jean M. Auel
Silent Witness - Richard North Patterson
Promised Land - Robert B. Parker
The Cat Who Saw Red - Lilian Jackson Braun
The Rebels - John Jakes
Legacy Of The Dead - Charles Todd

Today we took a day trip into the N.C. mountains, which is just over the border from us, about 45 minutes away, to Flat Rock.  (We also crept into Hendersonville, right next door, for one stop.)


On the way up to Flat Rock, we bought apples.  And apple butter.  And apple cider.  And sugar-free peach jam.  All from Sky Top Orchard - it was in the 40s and windy, on a mountain top, but very sunny, and they had lots of cool stuff.  As well as apples and preserves, they had pumpkins and other produce, and some baked goods.)


In Flat Rock itself, we stopped in at the Wrinkled Egg, which sells everything from clothes to toys, and greeting cards to everything for the teenaged horse-obsessed girl.  We also visited the jewelry store next door, Sweet Magnolia, which had some cool stuff.


Then we were off to Yarns to Dye For, in Hendersonville, where my mother saw a gorgeous white mohair shawl with sequins knit in, and asked if I could knit something like that.  I said I could, and we got the yarn - one ball of a fine white mohair, and a separate silver yarn with sequins in it; I'll double strand it, and knit it on big needles - US 15s (10 mm) if I can manage it (it calls for 17s, 12 mm), 13s (9 mm) if I can't.  (I know I can manage size 13s.  I've never knit successfully with 15s, but I haven't tried in a couple of years, so it's possible.)  It should be light and airy and sparkly, probably just garter in a very large needle/small yarn combination, and it will be for Christmas for a friend of ours who pretty much only wears black and white.


We then had lunch at Seasons, where I had a delicious Cuban sandwich, with zucchini fries.  The fries were a revelation; they were fantastic.  We're going to see if we can figure out what they did, and whether we can do it or not.  (We always have prolific zucchini in the summers.)


And then our last stop was a used bookstore, the Book Exchange, run by the local Ladies Aid group (founded 1880), where we bought about 25 books for 11 dollars.  Including one grab bag, which had quite a variety of things in it.  That'll be fun, for later.  (I've put some of them that I can remember here.)


And then we drove home, and collapsed!








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