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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  193,288 Ratings  ·  5,349 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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Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Bantam (first published May 4th 1980)
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Ashley I read this when I was pretty young, probably only 12, and the references just went right over my head. I would say the next book is more descriptive…moreI read this when I was pretty young, probably only 12, and the references just went right over my head. I would say the next book is more descriptive though, and not appropriate for a young teen. However, if I had teens I would much rather them learn about it through this book than, say, 50 Shades!(less)
Tigress (Warrior Elf) Goodreads is not a site for reading books. It's just for reviewing and keeping track of books you've read/want to read, and connecting with other…moreGoodreads is not a site for reading books. It's just for reviewing and keeping track of books you've read/want to read, and connecting with other readers. You still have to get books from the library, bookstore, Amazon, etc.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Corey
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2011 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
Lyn
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Werner
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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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Charlotte May
This was a great pick! I thoroughly enjoyed this read!
Set during prehistoric times, Ayla’s Home and her family are lost to a devastating earthquake. Homeless and alone she wanders the land, barely surviving, until she is found by Iza - a member of The Clan.
Ayla struggles to fit in and to be accepted by The Clan, its customs foreign to her. Their treatment of women being the main hurdle - all women are below men in status, expected to cook for the men, never to ignore a direct order from a man
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Henry Avila
Oct 20, 2015 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 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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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Jess
Jan 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
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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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
عنوان: قبیله خرس غار؛ نویسنده: جین ام. آول؛ مترجم: شهیندخت لطف اللهی (محبوب)؛ تهران، چشمه، 1381؛ در 585 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1389؛ شابک: 9789643620417؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م
داستان در پایان دوران انسانهای بدوی، یا همان نئاندرتالها، و آغاز دوران انسانهای اندیشه ورز روایت میشود، و ماجرایی پر کشش دارد. شخصیت اصلی داستان دختری به نام «آیلا»ست. آیلای پنج ساله، پس از زلزله ای بیخانمان میشود و گروهی از نئاندرتالها تصمیم میگیرند از او نگهداری کنند. خ
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Leisa
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Kayleigh
Nov 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Kaitlin
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
You know what...this has been on my 'to-read' list for years... years and years and years, and yet I only just got to it...
WELL
It was worth the wait!

This is the story of a young child called Ayla who is born over 35,000 years ago during Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon times. Ayla is a Cro-Magnon who is adopted by a group of Neanderthal people when they find her stranded and abandoned after heavy snowfall and a great Earthquake. Ayla has managed to get to a Cave where she was chased by (but evaded) a
...more
Doc Opp
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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
...more
Choko
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
*** 3.65 ***
Karen
Jun 19, 2015 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.
Calista
This book was powerful for me. It brought to life a world disappeared by more than 10,000 years. Ayla is such an inspiration and strong woman. I love her dedication to life and to her tribe and to herself. I love that she became a medicine woman. This book is one of a kind.
Laura
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
2.5 ⭐⭐
This book is not for everyone. It certainly wasn't for me.

It is astonishingly brutal in the description of both human endurance and cruelty.

The story is compelling and once you started it, you'll want to follow it to the end just so you can see what happens to the little orphan girl. But you may feel the need at times to alternately roll your eyes, hurl the book across the room, or punch something.

If there is one thing this book does well, it is to bring out negative emotions in the read
...more
Joe Valdez
Feb 20, 2014 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
...more
Cris
Dec 29, 2015 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
...more
D
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
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. . . .
Iset
Feb 13, 2011 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 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olivier Delaye
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!

OLIVIER DELAYE
Author of the SEBASTEN OF ATLANTIS series
The Forgotten Goddess (Sebasten of Atlantis, #1) by Olivier Delaye
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
...more
Tania
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Sarah
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'll never forget the first time I read this book. I was in the 5th grade. It was sitting around my house - my mom is an English teacher, so we always had plenty of books lying around in various stages of reading completion - and the synopsis on the back cover caught my attention. Some pretty advanced themes for a 5th grader, as my teacher Mr. Konezney mentioned to my mother upon seeing me read this book in school - but it was my very first emotional connection to fictional characters. Ayla, Cre ...more
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
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Jean M. Auel, née Jean Marie Untinen is an American author 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. As of 2010 her books have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, in many translations.

Auel attended University of Portland, and earned an MBA in 1976. She receiv
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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.” 33 likes
“The difference in the brains of men and women was imposed by nature, and only cemented by culture.” 8 likes
More quotes…