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The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  177,293 Ratings  ·  4,727 Reviews
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 natur
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Paperback, 495 pages
Published 2011 by Bantam (first published May 4th 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Corey
Jul 12, 2012 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing that strikes me most about her work is that every time there's a new discovery about how paleolithic people lived, it goes along with her stories. Things they said were silly back when she wrote it (Neanderthals with instruments, Neanderthals living with homo sapiens sapiens, and the like) keep proving true.

She presents interesting ideas of cognition, culture and how societies develop. The first two books are her best I think. The rest remain interesting if you can deal with the const
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Kinga
Jun 22, 2013 Kinga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ms Auel, there are some things I’d like to talk to you about. Be warned I’m quite angry because I keep reading your books for some bizarre reason and I cringe and tear my hair out in despair. See, you had a good story there – a little Cro-Magnon orphan girl found and raised by Neanderthals. I didn’t even care she turned out to be the smartest, most beautiful, ingenious little thing and the villain in the story was almost grotesque and cartoonish in his evildoing. I knew no real harm would ever c ...more
Werner
Mar 25, 2014 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fiction set in prehistoric times; fans of strong heroines
Note, March 25, 2014: I edited this review slightly just now, to delete one accidental dittography. Hmmm, I thought I'd proofread this.... :-)

Auel's Earth's Children series (this opening volume was followed by, so far, four sequels) garners mixed --and mostly negative-- reviews here on Goodreads. Though none of them have reviewed it, a dozen of my Goodreads friends have given it ratings, ranging from one star to five. Obviously, my own reaction falls at the favorable end of the spectrum.

Ayla, of
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Henry Avila
Apr 07, 2016 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Circa 30,000 years ago in the lands surrounding the broad Black Sea , in future Europe, a cataclysmic event occurred, not very unusual there, but still to the superstitious Ice Age people , a devastating occurrence. A family of Cro -Magnons, the first modern humans, our direct ancestors, were wiped out, near a small river, all except a little girl named Ayla , just five, she liked to sneak away and jump joyously into the stream, at dawn, a swimmer before the child could walk. The shaking soil an ...more
Holmes! Holmes
Aug 16, 2007 Holmes! Holmes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: shallow spiritualists harboring secret fantasies of miscegnation
I *really* wanted to dig this book. I have a burgeoning obsession with prehistory, evolution, and the antecedents of man, and a tale of Cro Magnons and Neanderthals is exactly what I'd love to read.

Sadly, this book does not contain that tale.

Instead, it's a goopy mess of inane metaphysics, prurience for prurience's sake, and a none-too-subtle dollop of racism, as the blonde-haired and light-skinned heroine shows the more primitive (and darker-skinned) Neanderthals how to do--well, just about eve
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Renee
Jan 08, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: topshelf
This book and the series that follows is endearing, troublesome, and whole-heartedly compassionate. This is the book my grandmother read to me as a little girl during the middle of a tornado, while we waited out the storm by candlelight. This is the book that started me reading... really reading.
I learned that I can love my quiet time, and apparently I love stories on the ancient human race... our beginnings. The ways of survival, ways of development, natural medicine, culture and anthropology.
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Lyn
Nov 27, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I once read an article from National Geographic in which the author had spent some time living with a Stone Age tribe in Africa. The people were a studied anachronism, living in modern times, but within a carefully maintained atavistic society of hunting and gathering. Most endearing of this study was the author’s observations about the interactive dialogue amongst the members of the tribe. One wife would say to her husband, “another woman has three beads, I only have two, I wish I had a husband ...more
Jess
Jan 01, 2011 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dirk Grobbelaar
Suddenly, with a magician's flourish, he produced a skull. He held it high over his head with his strong left arm and turned slowly around in a complete circle so each man could see the large, distinctive, high-domed shape. The men stared at the cave bear's skull glowing whitely in the flickering light of the torches.

Contemporary anthropology can be pretty confusing, and science may have disproved some of what’s on display here, but this novel does feel like it was well researched at any rate, s
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Kayleigh
Dec 16, 2010 Kayleigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kayleigh by: Read it for my Bio-Anth class
A disappointment. The concept is interesting, especially in light of recent archaeological evidence suggesting that Neandertals and Cro-Magnons (anatomically modern humans) may have interbred. However, the execution is extremely poor. The pacing is uneven, the prose is so flowery it hurts, and the characters are flat. Some other things that bothered me:
--The author has the tendency to "info-dump", frequently disrupting the flow of the story to deliver lengthy descriptions of plants, rocks, char
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Doc Opp
Jul 23, 2007 Doc Opp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a fantastic book. I read it in 7th grade, and was absolutely obsessed with it (which is nothing less than stunning, because at that age most books that lacked dragons weren't worth my time...). In a way its perfect for around that age, because its all about struggling for acceptance and trying to learn the social norms of a society. But really, everybody has dealt with those issues, and will be able to empathize with the characters. And the setting is so unique, the writing so vibrant, ...more
Leisa
Jun 09, 2011 Leisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book when I was a teen. Indirectly, it lead to my pursuit of a BA in Anthropology. Perhaps it is that Anthropology degree that has rendered the book unreadable for me 25 years later.
Crystal Starr Light
"[Ayla] was a woman, and she had more courage than you...more determination, more self-control"

Ayla is a five year old child when an earthquake forces her to flee her destroyed home and her dead parents. Iza, the medicine woman of the Clan of the Cave Bear, stumbles upon her and takes her under her wing, but Broud, the proud son of the clan leader, Brun, takes an immediate disliking to the young non-Clan girl. Ayla grows up among the clan and struggles to find her place.

I've heard so much about
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Karen
Sep 14, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was long and maybe just a little too descriptive at times... but incredibly creative. I couldn't put it down. Also, I listened to the audiobook. Narrator was okay, but read a bit fast and with without enough inflection at times... this got better as the story progressed. All in all a fabulous read. Looking forward to book two.
Iset
Feb 24, 2011 Iset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical fiction or character drama
Recommended to Iset by: No one
Frankly, Auel gets points simply for tackling this period, as I have not found any other books set around this era. Very little is known about human culture in this period apart from a basic overview, let alone Neanderthal culture. Particularly aspirations, values, and spiritual belief systems are the hardest to deduce from the material archaeological record. Auel avoids the problem of getting into the complex details of culture by making the novel more about character relationships than an exot ...more
Abby
Jun 07, 2008 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
D
Aug 21, 2007 D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
TRUE STORY: reading Clan of the Cave Bear to augment one's understanding of the Upper Paleolithic era is like reading Playboy for the articles. . . .
Cris
Mar 05, 2016 Cris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta es una de esas historias amplias en cuanto a número de personajes, espacios y tiempo. El nivel de detalle que alcanza lo hace un libro pausado y muy envolvente. Nos regala una mirada, aunque ficticia, bastante desarrollada y justificada, de los que pudo ser la vida de nuestros primeros antepasados más directos, siempre a través de una perspectiva familiar y cercana.

Ayla, la protagonista, nos ofrece una visión genial de las limitaciones del cerebro de los Neandertales con respecto al suyo pr
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Olivier Delaye
Jun 26, 2016 Olivier Delaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reread this recently and decided to upgrade it to 5 stars. The amount of research in this book is phenomenal and the plot better than I remembered. Not only have I (re)learned loads of stuff about cavemen and "cave ways," I've also rediscovered Ayla, the main character, and found myself really liking her and caring for her. So yeah, great reread!
Joe Valdez
Sep 18, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of mammoths, lovers of mammoth novels, lovers with mammoth attention spans
I came to The Clan of the Cave Bear at the Mission Viejo Library when the novel I'd wanted next -- The Witching Hour by Anne Rice -- was out. Wandering the hardcover fiction, a row of books at eye level with thick, colorful spines and the same author snared my attention. Published in 1980, this bestseller launched five sequels, a maligned film adaptation in 1986 and became an industry onto Jean M. Auel, whose published fiction has been dedicated solely to this Ice Age series.

Set in the late Plei
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Tim The Enchanter
My #7 Favorite read of 2013

A Unique and Entrancing 5 Stars

When I am rating a book, I am internally comparing that book to other similar books in the genre and asking myself if it is on par with the best I have read. For me, when it comes to rating what I deem to be Historical Fiction, 5 stars are a rarity. It is my favorite genre and there is always a masterpiece to which it can be compared. That said, The Clan of the Cave Bear has no peers. For me, this story explores a time that I have
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Tania
Sep 12, 2014 Tania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tania by: Sonja
She was one of the Others; a newer, younger breed, more vital, more dynamic, not controlled by hidebound traditions from a brain that was nearly all memory. Her brain followed different paths, her full, high forehead that housed forward-thinking frontal lobes gave her an understanding from a different point of view. She could accept the new, shape it to her will, forge it into ideas undreamed of by the Clan, and, in nature's way, her kind was destined to supplant the ancient, dying race.


This boo
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Christina White
This story was great! As I was reading I totally lost my self in the story. The descriptions and well researched information took me back in time and I could almost hear the grunts, the crackle of the fire and smell the meat roasting! Sometimes though, details were a little much and I felt anxious to get on with the story when the author was explaining the tedious steps involved in making a weapon or such things like that. After finishing the book I have a yearning for simplicity. I set out to e ...more
Lisa Vegan
May 13, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction, especially those intrigued by pre/early humans & evolution
This is a great novel; it’s a real masterpiece. I love the whole series but I think this is by far the best book in it, and it stands on its own although I became completely hooked and I’ve eagerly awaited every new book in the series, and I really hope Auel finishes this series! I really admire these epic books. I appreciate stories that are historical fiction or fantasy where a complex society and intricate details about the lives of the inhabitants are described. I feel that I learned so much ...more
Mandy
Jul 20, 2007 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love these books and have read some in the Earth's Children series many times because I love the detailed descriptions of their way of life. I actually started reading them in the 4th or 5th grade. I loved reading about how they hunted, gathered and stored their food, made clothing and jewelry, and the contrasts between the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon in those aspects. I also loved that Ayla was an innovative and strong woman, and I enjoyed learning about botany and medicinal uses for plants as ...more
Sarah
Ayla is just 5 years old when she loses her entire family and everyone she has ever known to a cave in caused by an earthquake. Completely alone and without the skills she needs to survive she wanders aimlessly until she is injured by a cave lion and she is close to death when members of the Clan of the Cave Bear find her. Iza is a medicine woman and although the child is one of the "Others" (a Cro-Magnon human) and very different to the Clan (who are Neanderthals) she is unable to walk away fro ...more
Ben Babcock
Sometimes I wanted to throw this book out the window. Or at someone. It's a hefty little paperback, and my copy is old enough that it the pages no longer lie quite next to each other on the spine, so it looks even bigger than it is. I have no doubt that if it were to hit someone in the head, it could seriously annoy that person and even cause a headache. That's often the feeling I experienced while reading The Clan of the Cave Bear. But I wouldn't turn this book into a projectile out of mere spi ...more
❀angela
Jan 13, 2015 ❀angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-again, own
I really liked this book so much that I even acquired a copy, however, after reading it the first time, I felt deceived. Seeing as 150 people shelved this as "romance", I started it and expected you know, a love story. I assumed Broud would be her love interest since he was a main character and guessed he and Ayla would have an enemies-to-lovers plot line or something. He treated her really badly (understatement) but I let it go because I assumed he'd have to beg for her forgiveness (hero-grovel ...more
April Cote
Wow! That was a great adventure of a read! I truly loved and enjoyed everything about this book. It was unlike anything I have ever read before. I was completely drawn into the story right from the very beginning until the last three, heartbreaking words that end the book. I loved the main character Ayla; one of the bravest woman characters I've ever come across in a story. No love interest or triangle that usually comes along with every story where the main character is female. This story was a ...more
Janette
Jun 01, 2014 Janette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I checked out this audiobook because I knew it was a bestseller a few decades ago, and I figured that since it was a bestseller, it must be good. Oh, how wrong we can be at times.

I hate to slam books because I know authors put a lot of work into them, but I have to do it this time. This book was bad for so many reasons. First, there was a lot of repetition and needless detail. A couple hundred pages could have been cut from the manuscript without changing the story at all. How many times did we
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What do you imagine happened to Durc after Ayla left? 45 621 Aug 01, 2016 04:11PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Covers Missing - The Clan of the Cave Bear 5 184 Jan 05, 2016 09:18PM  
Reading Through T...: March Book: Clan of the Cave Bear 22 36 Jan 27, 2015 07:11AM  
Book Chatter: Ayla... After the Clan? 6 16 Jun 28, 2014 01:53PM  
What if Ayla was (were?) Aylo? 3 93 Feb 11, 2014 10:27AM  
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Jean M. Auel, née Jean Marie Untinen is an American writer. She is best known for her Earth's Children books, a series of historical fiction novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. Her books have sold 34 million copies world-wide in many translations.

Author Jean Marie Auel (surname pronounced like "owl") is the second of five children of
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More about Jean M. Auel...

Other Books in the Series

Earth's Children (6 books)
  • The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2)
  • The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children, #3)
  • The Plains of Passage (Earth's Children, #4)
  • The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, #5)
  • The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children, #6)

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“But when did you see her, talk to me? When did you see her go into the cave? Why did you threaten to strike a spirit? You still don't understand, do you? You acknowledged her, Broud, she has beaten you. You did everything you could to her, you even cursed her. She's dead, and still she won. She was a woman, and she had more courage than you, Broud, more determination, more self-control. She was more man than you are. Ayla should have been the son of my mate.” 30 likes
“The difference in the brains of men and women was imposed by nature, and only cemented by culture.” 5 likes
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