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Publisher's Summary

Clan of the Cave Bear is the first novel in Jean M. Auel's magnificent best-selling epic of life 35,000 years ago. Leave the 21st century and go back to Ice Age Europe. Follow Ayla, a Cro-Magnon child who loses her parents in an earthquake and is adopted by a tribe of Neanderthal, the Clan. See how the Clan's wary suspicion is gradually transformed into acceptance of this girl, so different from them, under the guidance of its medicine woman, Iza, and its wise holy man, Creb. Immerse yourself in a world dictated by the demands of survival in a hostile environment, and be swept away in an epic tale of love, identity and struggle.

©1980 Jean M Auel (P)1992 AudioGO Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Beautiful, exciting, imaginative." ( New York Times)
"A major best seller...a remarkable work of imagination." ( Daily Express)

What listeners say about The Clan of the Cave Bear

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Classic

I've read the books a million times, just as good in audio book format!
Narrator has a brilliant, expressive voice. Highly recommended!

6 people found this helpful

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Educational as well as entertaining

I first read this book many years ago when I was in high school and I don't remember it being so "textbooky".
What I mean is that, besides the story of Ayla, it feels a lot like a school text book. Almost as if Jean M Auel is a paleoanthropologist moonlighting as a novelist.
The problem with an audio book vs a hard copy is that you can easily skim over the paragraphs that are simply lists of flora or fauna or outlining the medicinal properties of dandelion or aster, or describing in meticulous detail how to make a tool. Seriously - a good 20 minutes / 10 pages worth specifically dedicated to the minutiae of how to cut stone for an axehead. Just a little too much like an encyclopaedia.
That said, if you can look past the prehistoric university lecture material, the story is exciting and engaging. I'll give myself a break before moving to the next book in the series.
Rowena Cooper does an exceptional job with the narration.

3 people found this helpful

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Clan of the cave bear while at work

I loved reading this book when I did the first time, but to listen to it while working was a real treat

3 people found this helpful

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loved it!

I have read the book twice, rare for me, and now many years later listen to it. and still loved it. took a little getting used to the narrator's voice and accent, but fine once I was.

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Prehistoric child abuse

I was first captivated by the Clan of The Cave Bear a long time ago, having seen the 1986 movie when I was roughly five years old. At first it seemed like a movie suitable for children, so my parents let me watch it. But once Ayla, played by Darryl Hannah, was violently raped, my mum made me cover my eyes for practically the rest of the movie.

The book follows a similar pattern. Only it’s so much worse. It starts out a truly fascinating tale of a young girl surviving in the wild in prehistoric Europe. The way she learns to talk using the Clan’s hand gestures, and get her training as a medicine woman, is very believable and scientifically accurate. Her joy of being in the forrest, learning to hunt and become a stealth hunter in secret, is captivating and infectious.

But then the sexism and the severe abuse starts. The forceful nature of the Clan’s men rears its ugly head towards her. Demeaning religious rites, designed to disenfranchise women, feel so suffocating it’s nauseating to listen to. One would think that prehistoric peoples would see the disadvantages of such rites for the Clan’s survival, hence the whole ordeal seems somewhat unbelievable and veered from the book’s previous scientific accuracy. The noted differences between Clan and Others seem quite unbelievable too, knowing what we know today about Neanderthals.

The most shocking and upsetting part of Clan of the Cave Bear is not the fact that it’s perpetrating sadistic violence against women, but the fact that these so called “women” are in fact children. Oba is 8 years old when she’s mated (prehistoric term for married). Ayla is 11 when she has her son Durc and isn’t able to nurse him because she basically hasn’t developed breasts properly. It is stomach churning to imagine such things happening to children. And it’s infuriating to listen to the narrative of these events, calling the girls “women” when they so clearly are far away from adulthood. I doubt that Neanderthals would have matured much earlier than Cro Magnon girls and I doubt the ancient peoples would really be so stupid as to not understand how babies are made. Clearly the dangers of children giving birth to children would have been known back then as it is today. Or am I just disgusted because of the modern take on girlhood? Either way, this is a book about child abuse, about archaic dogma that serves no one and inevitably leads to the downfall of a whole race of hominins.

Reflecting on these themes follows a secondary disgust when seeing traces of these ideals lingering in our modern times.

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Love it

I have read this book many times, and the story is wonderful. I love Rowena Cooper's narration, she does the book justice.

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One of my favourite series

I’m not a huge fan of the narrator for this but I love the story so I adapted. It’s interesting to hear different pronunciations than I assumed in my head. Looking forward to listening to the rest. My first time listening but I have read this book at least 20 times

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memorable

remember reading this book when first published while commuting to work in my younger days. 30 odd years later enjoyed it again listening on audible. Jean M Auel has the magical power of her writing to transport you back to the ice age and relive what our ancestors lived. The hardship the joy sorrow struggles and never-ending battle to survive. A book and series i love.

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A beautiful story

This books give you time to breathe. To paint a detail scene and wonder through the historically accurate plains of the cave man days. It is a slow read but a beautiful story full of wholesome characters and challenges many beliefs allowing the reader to reflect on how far we have come on a spices. This book is very special to me as it is also where my name,Ayla, came from.

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Great Story

Great book, looking forward to getting into the next one. 👌🏼

An interesting story of one women born to the others.

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  • Robyn
  • 18-01-2017

very good narrator for a familiar tale

If you could sum up The Clan of the Cave Bear in three words, what would they be?

i read these books when I was a teenager and was looking forward to hearing them again. There is a version that I found online but the narrator was terrible! Reading like she was reading a recipe book. This narrator was very good and I enjoyed the story just as much the second time round.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Jacques Erasmus
  • 12-03-2021

Riveting and challenging

An amazing recounting of a human child growing up with Neanderthals. Jean writes with historical knowledge and great insight to herbal remedies and medicine.
Ayla’s journey is but only starting, and I can’t wait to start the next book.
Highly recommend read or listen.

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  • Joshua
  • 20-02-2013

Live it!

If you could sum up The Clan of the Cave Bear in three words, what would they be?

An ancient journey!

Any additional comments?

A great story! Jean M. Auel takes you on a journey through a time we can not walk through on our own! Great experience!

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  • Catherine Howard
  • 14-10-2017

An interesting story

Narrated well, this is an unusual concept for a book. Set in the Ice Age, it tells of a child of 'modern' man who is adopted by Neanderthals. The author has incredible knowledge of her subject - the uses of plants for food and medicine, the geology and geography of the time, the uses of flint and other tools, the flora and fauna.
The characters are believable and empathy is built for them, the setting is drawn in great detail and the whole book is well worth reading.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Lorraine
  • 07-01-2015

Loved it

Have read this several times but listening to it as an audiobook brought another dimension to the story. When reading a good book I have a terrible habit of 'skimming' when I really enjoy it to find out what happens next but with the audiobook you can't do that which really improved it for me! I usually listen when walking my dog who is also benefitting from longer walks! Thoroughly recommend. Can't wait to start next one.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Derek😊
  • 09-04-2018

An 80s cracker

Read this book as a teen in the early 90's and didn't fully appreciate it, the movie didn't do it much justice either. Came across the audible book for it and snapped it up. Excellent and truly engrossing performance. The narrator doesn't grate on me like other narrators and it's a very easy listen. Very enjoyable.

6 people found this helpful

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  • CAL
  • 03-05-2013

Interesting Research

Jean Auel has obviously spent a great deal of time and effort not only researching Neanderthal Man, but also present-day hunter gatherer societies, and then superimposed a story to present her findings in a captivating, easily accessible form. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the result, although I found the narrator's voice strangely lifeless, indeed more suited to reading an academic paper than a narrative. Auel is, however, no real story teller. The narrative remains driven by by her wish to acquaint the reader with her research, the imaginery additions are not convincing (clan memories accessed through the generations?), and the characters, though quite engaging, are never more than functional. All the same, I recommend this book. It allows an interesting insight into man's early history.

12 people found this helpful

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  • C Carey
  • 06-05-2018

A definate need to listen to.

This series is my go to when i cant decide what to listen to, when i need to completely escape, when i want something familiar. Despite having the audible set, kindle and paper format i cant praise these highly enough for lovers of a pre modern era. They are extensively researched and where imagination had to be taken to fill in the gaps it is entirely plausible and as it turns out the more we find out about the cave man era the author has actually made good instinctive observations.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Crafty
  • 04-01-2019

cave bear

I liked the premis of the tale. The ways pf the clan are prettycool, this reminded me of the movie Avatar in subtle ways. I developed a conection to the main character, at which point there was some pretty upsetting violence, I was almost tempted to stop reading as it seemed a little unnecessary and I was effected by it. I did finish and Im glad I did. over all it was an enjoyable experience

4 people found this helpful

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  • Angela Lovegrove
  • 06-10-2017

Memorable and worth revisiting

I've read this series previously and found it so memorable that I wanted to read/hear it again. Not many books grab me enough to be revisited by me. I'm now looking forward to the next book in the series. ****** because 5 * are not enough.

4 people found this helpful

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  • adam williams
  • 08-04-2018

Amazing

Would you listen to The Clan of the Cave Bear again? Why?

Yes, this was a great story, superbly narrated by Rowena Cooper

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Clan of the Cave Bear?

The ending brought a tear to my ear

Which character – as performed by Rowena Cooper – was your favourite?

Ayla

Any additional comments?

I'm so excited to listen to the rest of the series

2 people found this helpful

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  • AnnieP
  • 24-02-2018

Just brilliant ...

I absolutely loved Clan of the Cave Bear and couldn't stop listening until it was finished. I will buy the next book in the series right away. Liked the narrator too - very clear enunciation. The subject matter and story was very different from anything I had read before. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mmc
  • 23-12-2012

The history of each one of us

This excellent story transports us back through our genetic code and explains how we react to things and how our instincts really operate in times of crisis, etc. The author has used intelligent research to bring us this little part of ourselves and our history

3 people found this helpful

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