Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear and her subsequent highly successful series have also left a lasting impression on me. I was in awe, no pun intended, of her realistic and humanistic portrayal of ancient civilisations developing from Cave Dwellers to Hunter Gatherers about 3,000 years ago.
I was taught history in the traditional route working through the centuries from cavemen to the Tudors and Stuarts; since my elderly history teacher’s favourite period was the Tudors and Stuarts we repeated this era for our O’ Level and then I gave up history soon after. Thus I have always been aware that my understanding and knowledge of more modern history was embarrassingly lacking until recently. (I include right through from the Edwardians and Victorian ages to the World Wars of last century here) Maybe that’s one of the main reasons that I have been drawn to this era to research for my writing and why I’ve found the experience so satisfying. revelling in life in Victorian times through to the end of WW1.
I digress. Clan of the Cave Bear is beautifully written. I found the characterisation compelling and was fascinated by the details of their lives, including the vital use of herbal medicine for their physical well being and their shamanic practices for spiritual guidance. Having visited the rain forests of South America in the last few years, it brought the experiences of Ayla, the main heroine even more into focus.
As all good series should, I remember waiting with impatience for the next volume to reach the shelves and I know that Ayla’s story lived with me for several years. There have been five in the series up until very recently but I hear that, after a gap of several years, the sixth novel has been written, but that it is only out in hardback for now. I think that I might re read the series through before I savour ‘The Land of Painted Caves’ once it finally comes out in paperback. Oh the anticipation or returning to Jean Auel’s world which once consumed my every day life!