Sarah Seifert's Reviews > The Land of Painted Caves

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
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Aug 10, 2011

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Similar to the Plains of Passage and Shelters of Stone, this book was highly repetitive. While reading this book, I was continually jolted out of the narrative by an extraneous description of an herb, tree or dwelling. After receiving descriptions of the same herb, tree or dwelling three or four times, I found myself skimming over those parts of the novel to get back to the storyline.

The descriptions of the caves in Part I of the novel were also rather long-winded and tedious. Cave people drew horses on the walls of caves. Cave people colored said horses with black charcoal or red ocher. Cave people place black dots or red dots on the walls near the horses. No one knows what these drawings mean, not even the characters in the novel. After visiting a dozen caves, our characters still don't know and I'm getting bored. Move on.

I also found it to be a bit of a copout that Auel used the same issues Ayla & Jondalar faced in The Mammoth Hunters to wrap up the storyline in this novel. It seemed as if she couldn't figure out where to take our protagonists, so she started re-reading her own novels and figured, "Hey, it worked once, so why not use it again?" I'll tell you why not. Because a huge percentage of the people reading this novel have already read The Mammoth Hunters and we would like a new story, not something recycled. It felt like she got lazy.

All that being said, this novel was a step back in the right direction. It was better than The Plains of Passage and Shelters of Stone and felt like she was getting back to the essence of her first three novels. If she were to write a seventh novel, which seems to be a possibility given the ending to The Land of Painted Caves, I hope she continues to bring us more of what we loved in the first three books.
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message 1: by Sam (new)

Sam Egas First of all, yes I agree with you SO much about the repition. I am a person who likes the story plot and that's about it, the descriptions were almost always so unnecessary. For example "In this humid cave, the surface of the wall was soft. In this place, through chemical and bacterial agents neither she nore the artists could begin to understand the surface layer of the limestone had decomposed into mondmulch, a material with a soft, almost luxurious texture, and pure white color." (Auel, 489). This excert perfectly describes her writing. I think it is way to long and pointless just to describe the scratchable cave wall. Even myself, who has not read the other books in the series, thought the plot was almost nonexistant in part one and two. In all I agree with your review but I do have one question, could you help me identify the theme of this book? I found it to be that fathers are important in childcare however to me that seems almost dumb to have that as a theme. Thanks!

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