The Last Neanderthal
The Last Neandra… what? If you’re thinking that this is just a grown up version of Grood, you my friend are quite mistaken. This book sat on my shelf for almost two years, calling me quietly from a place deep inside each time I passed by. On Sundays as I dusted the shelves, I’d feel a slight quiver as the book reached out towards my soul in reminder. And finally, one winter evening with a fire roaring and a glass of red, I reached back.
The Last Neanderthal follows the life of two main characters, a present time archaeologist in her first pregnancy who has made what she is certain to be the discovery of her lifetime, her legacy, and fulfillment to her purpose as an archaeologist and the other, the last Neanderthal herself, Girl. We meet Girl’s family and we reside inside her mind as she navigates through the harsh world she knows as home.
The book jacket describes this book as, “haunting, suspenseful and profoundly moving” and I can promise you that it is all of these and more. Feminism, the world of working while pregnant, the struggle between motherhood and career, the realities of independence verses co-dependence and the darkness that occurs in the depths of a woman’s mind that is rarely shared.
Got your wine yet?
I couldn’t put this book down. Rosamund, the archaeologist was a character I fell for because of her passion for her craft, her intelligence and her determination to honour the life she knew she had uncovered. But Girl, oh Girl will remain forever in my heart. Her strength, intuition, sacrifice, hardship, and ultimate understanding of her fate and place in life have been carved into my soul. This book is why historical fiction is my first and longstanding love. When a book calls to you from its place on a shelf, especially a book you’ve chosen at some point and not yet read, pick up the book. Books find you.