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The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

The Land of Painted Caves (2011)

by Jean M. Auel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Earth's Children (6)

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English (92)  French (3)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All (98)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
I was ready - okay, more than ready - to trash the heck out of this novel in a review, and I still can't say that the first two of three parts don't deserve it. Know going in, there's no defence for this novel on the basis of literary merit. The author does her thing again where detailed paragraphs of information are repeated practically wholesale, often more than once. There's at least a dozen pages' worth of the tiresome Mother's Song. The cave tours are a new wrinkle, offering zero insight into their paintings and capturing none of the wonder. Unlike every previous volume this book carries over a large cast, but there's no need to worry who's who because it just. doesn't. matter.

In part three, the author suddenly wakes up and remembers she's writing a novel. All at once there's a plot, subplot, events with some actual heft, and finally a conclusion that got me right in the gut like fiction rarely can. I guess I'm just a big baby, what can I say. I did not see that kind of impact coming, after hundreds of pages of the somnambulant nonsense I waded through to get there. Until then it's very thin on tension, suspense, action, villainy - anything, really. It barely has a pulse. But it's very strong on camaraderie, cooperation, benevolence and compassion. We never would have stopped being cave men if it was as idyllic as this. ( )
  Cecrow | Dec 1, 2016 |
Land of the Cave Bear series. In all the other books Ayla was "special" but once she and Jondalar return to his people they don't see her as "special". Much of the writing seemed to be cut and paste from previous volumes, as if Jean Auel had very little or nothing left to say. Disappointed.

The series ends with a "whimper"! ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jul 27, 2016 |

In the first part, Ayla is at a Summer Meeting and she begins to learn what an acolyte does. Ayla and the First decide to start Ayla's Donier Tour-- a tour of the sacred caves in the wider region. Jondalar, Jonayla, their animals and many others decide to travel along.

The second part is mainly about the caves they visit. In many of the Sacred caves the Ancients, the people before the Zelandonii, left drawings. Ayla meets many other Zelandoni and one of them gives her a pouch of dried herbs smelling faintly of mint. Ayla also discovers that the Clan visit some of the sacred caves as well.

In the third part of the book, Ayla is marking the passage of the sun and moon's phases as part of her training as an acolyte. One night she is distracted and decides to share Pleasures with Jondalar, starting a baby. However, most of her Cave leaves for the Summer Meeting, but Ayla stays behind until Midsummer so she can finish her observation of the celestial bodies. During this time she takes care of Marthona, her mother-in-law, as well as the others in her Cave. One night Ayla makes some mint tea, actually the dried herb mixture given to her in the second part of the book, and is Called. If an acolyte is Called, then she will be tested by the Zelandonia, and initiated into the Zelandonia if the Calling is true. Ayla puts down her drink and runs along a river into a cave, where she spends the next three days hallucinating. Wolf wakes her from her visions, and she finds herself in the dark cave. She allows Wolf to lead her out of the cave, but not before finding a bag hidden there by Madroman, an unskilled acolyte who faked his Calling, and who has had a deep-seated hatred of Jondalar since adolescence.

Outside are people from her Cave who were worried about her absence, and it is discovered that Ayla miscarried. She spends the next few days recovering from her experience and helps deliver a friend's baby. After delivering the baby, Ayla travels to the Summer Meeting. Upon her arrival, she finds Jondalar sharing Pleasures with Marona (Marona being Jondalar's bitter ex-girlfriend whom he abandoned to go travelling in the second book, and who actively and spitefully caused Ayla much difficultly when she first arrived at Jondalar's home). This leaves a rift between Ayla and Jondalar. She turns Madroman's bag over to the Zelandonia, and he is rejected from their ranks for his attempted deception. Ayla is accepted into the Zelandonia and attempts to use a dangerous hallucinogenic root as part of her initiation - one that was greatly feared by her first mentor, Mamut. The rift with Jondalar is only healed when he manages to call her back from the death-like coma induced by the root.

The spiritual knowledge Ayla's Calling brings to the community is that men are active in the conception of a baby during 'Pleasures', which leads to the start of recognized fatherhood and that men have purpose on earth equal to that of women, and subsequently leads to the need for monogamous relationships to reduce jealousy/possessiveness over sexual partners and for fathers to take responsibility for children, thus shaping this prehistoric culture further to match our current one. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 12, 2016 |
I do like Jean Auel's books even if they tend to be excessively wordy.
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Well, clearly Ms. Auel put a lot of work and effort into this. BUT...I agree with the other comments. It is such a shame this book wasn't edited well. This could have been an enjoyable book at 250 to 300 pages. As it is, I really can't recommend it. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
Among modern epic spinners, Auel has few peers. And readers need not worry: There are enough loose ends to feed a half-dozen more books. We’ll hope to see more, magic mushrooms or no.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Feb 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean M. Auelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First born, last cited, always loved,
and for FRANK,
who stands by her side,
and for AMELIA and BRET, ALECIA, and EMORY,
fine young adults,
with love
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The band of travellers walked along the path between the clear sparkling water of Grass River and the black-streaked white limestone cliff, following the trail that paralleled the right bank.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
From the jacket:

Ayla, Jondelar and Jonayla are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave - a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on an arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. It is a daunting, often perilous work that sometimes takes her away from her family. Ayla, Jondalar, and Jonayla are welcomed by the Zelandonii, but problems arise.
They are faced with new challenges, not just the ordinary trials of sheer survival, but the complications posed by many groups of people who need to live and work together. the wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthens her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.

Ayla and Jondalar's first priority is the care for their golden-haird child, Jonayla, and the well-being of their amazing animals Wolf, Whinney, Racer and Gray. The two participate in hunts to provide food, in travels to Summer Meetings for decision making, and in social activities. Whatever the obstacles, Ayla's inventive spirit produces new ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life; searching for wild edibles to make delicious meals, experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandonii must take, honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And then, there are the Sacred Caves, the caves that Ayla's mentor - the Donier, the First of the Zelandonia - takes her to see. These caves are filled with remarkable art - paintings of mammoths, lions, auroches, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. the powerful, mystical aura within these caves dominates overwhelms Ayla.
Ayla's final preparation for her initiation as a Zelandonie Bring The Land of the Painted Caves to a riveting climax. So much time apart from Jondalar has caused him to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains a Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517580519, Hardcover)

The highly anticipated sixth book of Jean Auel's Earth's Children® series, The Land of Painted Caves, is the culmination fans have been waiting for. Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago. The Land of Painted Caves is an exquisite achievement by one of the world's most beloved authors.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:46 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni -- one of the Ninth Cave community's spiritual leaders and healers.

» see all 7 descriptions

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