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.
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 they'll hopefully join a new family. Interspersed with Girl's story are flash-forwards to Rose, the pregnant anthropologist who unearths Girl's bones positioned intimately beside those of a human. The births of both Rose and Girl's 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 book's greatest strength its ability to collapse time and space to draw together seemingly dissimilar species: ancestors and successors, writer and reader.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Not the book for me. I found it slow and too many questions left unanswered