The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, Audio narrated by Sandra Burr
Earth’s Children Series #1
Fiction, Published 1980
Challenges: Audio Book Challenge, Series Challenge IV
Read April 2010
Story: 4/5, Narration: 5/5
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 difference 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.
I really enjoyed this audio book. At around 20 hours, unabridged, it took me just 2 weeks to finish it. The narrator does a great job with expressing the Clan people, since most of their communications with each other are nonverbal. This novel is very detail oriented with a lot of the author’s research of the Ice Age and neanderthal people coming to the forefront of the novel, especially descriptions about the plants Iza uses as the medicine woman. The clan finds Ayla wandering along, nearly dead, after an earthquake has sent them away from their previous cave. Iza takes it upon herself to care for the strange girl from “the others.” They consider her to be strange and ugly and even though she is finally officially accepted into the clan, she continually struggles to conform to the ways of the clan.
I became very attached to Ayla’s story and often cringed through all the hardships she must endure, especially those that are inflicted by Broud, the son of the clan’s leader, Brun, and look forward to following her journey. I wonder if she will forever be a wanderer. Will she find her own people of the “Others” and will she ever make it back to her true family within the Clan of the Cave Bear?