I almost titled this Shelters of Stone. Does that tell me that it's all been a blur?
Anyway, Painted Caves was a wonderfully detailed journey in a time and place that existed a long time ago, as seen through the eyes of the peoples who lived then. The archeologist in me loved it.
I'm finally done!
The rest of me found the experience of reading the first six hundred pages or so to be an excruciatingly painful process. Painful. So, so, painful.
I can finally read something else!
Either when I was younger I appreciated the detail more readily, or now that I'm older I find that extreme redundancy in writing to be so very boring.
Thank goodness I'm done!
Sure I wanted to know how Jondalar's and Ayla's adventures ended, but I felt that I didn't need a six hundred page summary of the first five books before the last couple hundred pages.
I love that Ms. Auel does so much research for her books, I really do, but she could probably take a couple lessons from Diana Gabaldon in writing style. Sure, she does lots of research, too, and yes, her books are hundreds, if not over a thousand pages long, but you can't put them down. And, if you buy the fourth book first not knowing that it's in a series, and start reading said book, you realize by the second page that you should probably go buy and read the first three books first because Ms. Gabaldon is not going to sum up her previous books for you.
Back to The Land of Painted Caves.
You know what? I'm going to do you a favour. I'm going to presume that you've read the other books, and I'm going to sum up the first part of Painted Caves for you in one sentence, or so, and then I'm going to tell you from where to start reading the book so as to avoid Severely Repetitive Redundancy Pain.
SPOILER ALERT! I'm not responsible if you keep reading this post from this point forward and then decide to get all pissy about it. If you want to read the book in it's entirety without knowing what's happened first, stop right now.
Jondalar and Ayla are living with Jondalar's mother's cave, their daughter Jonayla is growing up, but Ayla is really busy training as an acolyte for the Zelandonii, and what with all the traveling to summer meetings and a donier tour to see all the important painted caves, and with all the visiting and ceremonies and rituals and training, Ayla doesn't get to spend as much time with her family as she wants or needs to.
Now you can start reading from chapter thirty (page 580). It will start moving along a little faster, I promise.
If you really wanted the descriptions of the caves, do yourself a favour and find a picture book on cave paintings. I may even have an Archaeology textbook that I could lend you.
If you really want a summary of the end of a book, I can do that too. Let me know.