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The Last Neanderthal
by Claire Cameron


Overview - International Bestseller

One of the most anticipated books of 2017: The Millions , CBC, Chatelaine , Globe and Mail, Maclean's

From the author of The Bear , the enthralling story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both

Forty thousand years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth.  Read more...


 
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More About The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
 
 
 
Overview
International Bestseller

One of the most anticipated books of 2017: The Millions, CBC, Chatelaine, Globe and Mail, Maclean's

From the author of The Bear, the enthralling story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both

Forty thousand years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a crushingly hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate.

But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll, and Girl is left alone to care for Runt, a foundling of unknown origin. As Girl and Runt face the coming winter storms, Girl realizes she has one final chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself.

In the modern day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale works well into her pregnancy, racing to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her baby comes. Linked across the ages by the shared experience of early motherhood, both stories examine the often taboo corners of women's lives.

Haunting, suspenseful, and profoundly moving, THE LAST NEANDERTHAL asks us to reconsider all we think we know about what it means to be human.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780316314480
  • ISBN-10: 031631448X
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Contemporary Women

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-02-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

Forty millennia separate the two female protagonists of this impressively executed novel from the author of The Bear. In the distant past, a Neanderthal named Girl struggles to define her role in a depleted family that includes her aged mother, Big Mother; her brother, Him; and Runt, a foundling. Now of childbearing age, Girl is secretly impregnated by Him and soon thereafter cast out by Big Mother, and though the family is eventually reunited, a failed hunt leaves several of them dead. Girl is left to care for Runt while leading them to the meeting place, where theyll hopefully join a new family. Interspersed with Girls story are flash-forwards to Rose, the pregnant anthropologist who unearths Girls bones positioned intimately beside those of a human. The births of both Rose and Girls children, past and present, threaten to destroy the lives of the respective mothers, as Rose is forced to leave the dig site, while Girl must deliver the baby alone in a snowstorm. The contrasting and similar reactions to motherhood are emblematic of the books greatest strengthits ability to collapse time and space to draw together seemingly dissimilar species: ancestors and successors, writer and reader. Agent: Denise Bukowski, the Bukowski Agency. (Apr.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Two women, eons apart

Neanderthal kills bison. Neanderthal eats bison. Bear eats bison carcass. Birds clean carcass. Worms spread carcass remains. Rain washes remains into river. Algae grows, fed by decomposing bison. River fish eats algae. All life is connected.

Girl knows this cycle well. One of the last Neanderthals, Girl understands that every step of a hunt affects not only her family but also the animals that surround them. They, too, are animals, and they have respect for their role in the cycle.

In the present day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale believes Neanderthals recognized their interconnectivity, but the scientific world isn’t buying into her ideas. It’s a thrilling moment, then, when Rose uncovers Neanderthal and human skeletons lying side by side. They’re positioned as though the two died staring into one another’s eyes.

Modern humans cling to the idea that Neanderthals were a lesser species, and that’s why Homo sapiens prevailed. Rose is convinced her discovery not only places the two in the same time period, but also suggests Neanderthals even interacted with humans.

In The Last Neanderthal, Claire Cameron expertly intertwines Girl’s and Rose’s stories. Though they are separated by 40,000 years and exist in almost wholly separate worlds, the women are bonded. They face their bodies’ sexual maturation and capability to create life. They’re challenged by the expectations and limitations of being a woman in their respective times. In turn, Cameron challenges the reader to consider his or her own existence. This is an engaging tale that celebrates the search for life’s meaning and its quotidian nature.

 

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews