The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

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Summary (from goodreads):
40,000 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.
.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.

Edition Read: netgalley
Where (else) to buy: kobo*, google play, amazon*, nook*
I received an advanced copy of this book through netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Random:
Can I gush over this cover for a minute? It's gorgeous! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to read this book.

Thoughts:
Girl's story is incredibly intriguing and the author's skill with wordplay shines through. She has some very beautiful lines and paragraphs that are absolute magic to read. A word of caution, there are some very uncomfortable parts. We are dealing with a dwindling population on the brink of extinction and a protagonist who must do what she can to survive. It makes sense, I just wasn't quite expecting it when I walked in. 😓 It's handled with care, but it's still weird to read something that can only be described as uncomfortably sensual.

I didn't like Rose or her role in the book. Her treatment of the other characters (one in particular) is pretty appalling and she's not seen long enough for her thoughts and actions to make sense. The story parallels are a bit of a stretch and don't do anything to enhance the overall story. In fact, she took away from the ending. There is so much buildup about the skeletons and it just ends up falling flat.

Content wise, I feel this would have been a fantastic novella. No Rose, just Girl.

Verdict:

It's a short book and the neanderthal parts are lovely to read, but you could easily skip Rose's chapters if you were so inclined. 😉


Quibbles:
-A good bit of filler in Girl's story.
-Random perspective changes in the paleo-narrative. If flowed well enough, but still. 😒

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