Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Land of Painted Caves

The Land of Painted Caves
Jean M Auel
6th in the Earth's Children series
Random House

From the back of the book: In this , the extraordinary conclusion of the ice-age epic series Earth's Children, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte to a spiritual leader and begins arduous training tasks.
   Whatever obstacles she faces, Ayla finds inventive ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life, searching for wild edibles to make meals and experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys, the Zelandonii
must take while honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And there are the Sacred caves that Ayla's mentor takes her to see: They are filled with remarkable paintings of mammoths, lions, and bears and their mystical aura at times overwhelms Ayla.
   But all the time Ayla has spent in training rituals has caused Jondalar to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death, but through them Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.

My thoughts: This last in the series was a long time coming. And so when I was finally able to borrow a copy from a friend, I put all other reading aside to dive in. This is a long book, 828 pages, and as with all the preceding stories, it has great and glorious detail. Auel paints a wondrous picture of the Earth and its inhabitants during the glacial ice age. She writes in vivid detail of the living arrangements, the utensils used to cook and hunt and the family structure. She weaves a believable story of this amazing young woman and her life, now as a young mate and mother. If I have any criticism at all, it would be that the chapters describing the inside of the painted caves became a bit long for me.
     Ms Auel uses her stories to raise questions and maybe even give us some answers as why our modern day customs are the way they are. In this last story she delves into relationships and family structure. This book will sit with all her others on my 5 Happy Hands shelf.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

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