The Clan of the Cave Bear

By Jean M. Auel,

Book cover of The Clan of the Cave Bear

Book description

This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Clan of the Cave Bear as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Ayla’s amazing story of survival in ancient times no doubt influenced me in writing my own book, although I didn’t realize it until I was deep into telling my own story.

Both Ayla and Na’amah were, in a way we find difficult to grasp today, intimately connected to nature. Their very survival turned on that deep understanding. Both women were considered “different,” a feeling that resonated with me.  

I was particularly drawn to the premise that explored how two distinct, but related tribes of humans could have evolved with different innate characteristics and capacities (one relying more on instincts and…

From T.K.'s list on history’s remarkable women.

“Archeology” is the study of human prehistory through the excavation and analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. Author Jean M. Auel humanized what archeologists coldly classified as the human sub-species Homo Neanderthalensis, and changed literature forever. In her 1980 breakout novel The Clan of the Cave Bear she breathed life into bits of bone, stone chips, and cave art and, in the doing, made Neanderthals real to millions of readers. Jean M. Auel gave Neanderthals real hopes, fears, love and inner darkness. Through the eyes of a Cro-Magnon girl named Ayla, Auel saw Neanderthals not as primitive brutes,…

Although an older book, this is a well-written book (and series) that takes you through a prehistoric journey that really challenges you because there are no modern amenities to really aid our hero through her journey. Aside from that, she is challenged from a tender age already and has to fight to survive horrid circumstances starting when she is five years old. She is at a disadvantage against the people who adopt her, and later brutalize her. But there’s a strong resonance of independence and fighting spirit that the reader can connect with. 

From Toni's list on fantastic fantasy to get lost in.

This was my favourite adventure series as a teenager - set in pre-historic times - and remains embedded in my heart because the main character, Ayla, had such a beautiful balance of qualities that I hadn’t read in other female-led YA novels, and made me feel so empowered over my transition into womanhood.

She is fiercely brave, independent, smart, and courageous, but at the same time can be vulnerable, gentle, loving, and express qualities that are traditionally feminine. The way she navigates adversity and the challenges of being an outsider in a tribe who all look and behave differently to…

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