September 2017 - The Last Neanderthal, by Claire Cameron

2017fiction
bookclub

(Jane D) #81

Week Two questions

  1. I don’t think I have ever pondered how difficult life was for early humans or Neanderthals. I am not sure how difficult they were aware their life was. It was just what they had to do. We see it as difficult because it is so foreign to us.

  2. If I was dropped into Neanderthal life I don’t think that I would fair that well. Certainly not on my own. Of course it would depend where I landed. Around here in western BC there are many sources of food from the land and water. But could I catch a fish with simple tools?? Not sure. At my age, the physical stamina to build a shelter etc would wear me out pretty easily. I doubt the Neanderthals lived to be my age!

  3. Girls was banished because Big Mother needed to keep Him around for protection and his hunting skills. Girls would have been leaving anyway when the got to the fishing spot and she found her mate. So it was to happen anyway. I think in Big Mother’s eyes it was the fair move just not the opportune time or circumstances.

  4. I was not aware of the HG Wells story…more to add to the TBR pile!!!

  5. I think Rose is protective because it is something she discovered and it seems to prove a theory that she has supported. A theory that others have been dismissive of. I thing she is wary of the others now involved in the dig. Also, being pregnant she feels vulnerable. She is going to have to take time away from the dig and her energy will be focused on her baby and getting her physical strength back after the birth.

  6. I don’t have enough information to form a firm opinion about Simon at this point. I do think there are several factors that may lead to more conflict with the couple. He now doesn’t have a job so they will be financially stressed. Rose will probably be torn between they baby and her professional life. This could lead to depression and relationship issues between Rose and Simon. Just a few guesses.

  7. The chapter with the fight between Girl and the two leopards was very dramatic! Also, a Susan mentioned…the death of mother and the way she handed over the horns was very moving.

  8. The Girl chapters are not number as they are not to be labelled. There were so few words during Neanderthal times that numbers will do. The words associated with the Rose chapters are sort of cleaver. As I begin reading each chapter I wonder what the significance of the word are. It is not until the end of the chapter does it become clear.

  9. Andy perceives Rose as brave because she is a very independent woman doing what she wants and creating the life she wants. She strongly advocates for herself. She is probably very different from Simon’s late wife. (We actually know nothing about her, though) So he labels Rose as ‘brave’. He most likely comes from a generation where women, in general, were not as assertive and may not have juggled family and career.


(Kim@Time2Read) #82

Prior to starting this novel, had you ever thought about how hard the very act of existing was for neanderthals and early people?

I have thought about the life of a Neanderthal often and how hard survival was and how a different turn of events could have played out a different way. I often think about the food sources and how they ‘preserved’ meat in cold spots, and wonder how often they ended up with food poisoning. This is probably because I was a biology major and enjoyed my physical anthropology classes.

How would you manage if suddenly cast back to neanderthal times, and we had to live as they did?

I’m sure I would not manage well at all. It would have been one thing to have grown up under those conditions, knowing no better, but to be suddenly cast into those circumstances, with little food and little awareness of the movements of predators, I’m pretty sure I would survive. I’ve probably already outlived Big Mother by a generation or more!

Here’s a question; How old do you think these characters are. I’m guessing Girl is about 13-15, since she is just coming into heat, and that Him is a year or 2 older. The older sister is probably not yet 20. I’m guessing this makes Big Mother about 35. And she lived to an older age than most!

Why do you believe Girl was the one banished, and not Him? Was this a fair action ordered by Big Mother?

I think Big Mother did not WANT to banish Girl and that she loved her. But I think she truly felt Girl was more capable of surviving without the group and Him was. She also thought the rest of them needed Him as a provider and as protection. It seemed to me that her primary concern was survival of the family.

In retrospect, I have to wonder if the group would have survived had she not banished Girl. Big Mother seems pleased to learn Girl is pregnant, so even though she warned against the coupling, apparently it was acceptable on some level. I have to wonder if having Girl around to watch Him’s back and help with the labor of securing food would have made the critical difference needed for survival. Then again, maybe Girl would have perished, too.

Were you previously aware of the H.G. Wells story?

I was not. It sounds interesting, though,

Why do you feel Rose is so protective of the dig site, and her role on the project?

This project is Rose’s ‘baby’. She has spent her life on this theory and it is about to come to fruition. She doesn’t want anyone else sneaking in and taking credit, or possibly contaminating the site and putting the results in question. I do wonder where this story is going and whether the baby will have to compete with the site for Rose’s attention.

Do you have a good feel for the relationship between Rose and Simon? What do you make of it?

I really don’t have a good feel for the situation. Right now it seems to me more a relationship of convenience. They are compatible and friendly and do care for each other, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of passion involved. They seem comfortable each doing their own thing and meeting up when they can — which isn’t necessarily bad on paper. I just am not sensing a lot of depth to this relationship, which could spell trouble when things get stressful. Or maybe we will see that the depth is there or will develop under stress.

Was there a moment in this part of the reading that really stood out for you?
For me, I think that moment was when Big Mother sent Girl away. That is a turning point in their story, and a different decision may have let do a different outcome.

Why do you think Girl’s chapters have numbered titles, whereas Rose’s chapters have word titles?

I don’t really know. I hope that becomes more clear as we read on. Right now, my theory is that numbers are more elemental than language. Numbers and counting were important to primitive survival: are we outnumbered? how much meat do we have? when is the fishing season? Language is a more evolved skill.

Do you agree with Andy’s assessment that Rose is brave?

I’m not sure what I think. I can see points that might be considered brave, but I’m not sure what Andy was referring to. It is brave to live out in the elements for months, especially while pregnant. Rose also was brave to call out Tim on the legality of forcing her to take leave. For that matter, it took a certain amount of bravado to propose the project.


(Jennifer D.) #83

loving all the replies to this week’s questions and reading! thanks for adding your thoughts, @Jane_Dixon and @Kim!!

@Kim - i think in the story it said Big Mother had seen 30 winters? something like that. Runt had seen 5 or 6? Bent a bit older, maybe 9 or 10? I agree with your guesses about Girl’s and Him’s ages.


(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #84

Love all the replies to the questions! I agree with everyone!

If I was dropped into Neanderthal life…I’m not sure how I would fare - would I be strong enough to handle their life? Are we being dropped in after experiencing our current life, or if we were dropped in all that we remember would be gone? Because I think I would have a horrible time being dropped in now - I need to brush my teeth! I’m a little obsessive about brushing my teeth! :joy:

About Girl’s banishment…I agree with what everyone else has said. She didn’t want to do it - she was a favoured person in the group, but Him would provide more protection and Girl could find a new family, however Big Mother did say it was only until the fish run so I think she was doing this more to keep Him and Girl apart from any more temptation.

I wasn’t aware of HG Wells book, I haven’t read any of his work at all before.

If I were Rose I would be reacting and acting exactly the same way she has. This is her find, her research and it proves her theories. I think the relationship between Rose and Simon is one where Simon has more invested into it - he’s more emotionally attached. And/or Rose does love him, but her way of showing that is different than Simon’s. We see more of the “expected” way for Rose to act in Simon and vice versa - her work is more important, or takes precedence or her relationship with him.

The chapters could be numbered because perhaps for Neanderthal’s there wouldn’t be this way of naming something/giving something like a chapter in a book a title. Rather it would be marked in periods of time or something. Is that making any sense? Oh - like you mention @Jennifer_D – 30 Winters. Marking time by the winters/seasons.
I like how they are seemingly running parallel lives - Rose and Girl.


(Jennifer D.) #85

just a reminder about what’s on the schedule for this week.

this section includes the following chapters:

16; 17; pressed particleboard; 18; 19; 20; conference call; 21; 22

i hope the read is going well for all who are participating!!


(Jennifer D.) #86

just a note for you all re: this sunday’s summary and discussion questions:

i will be offline saturday, and part of/most of sunday (daytime) as i am attending a conference/event with my husband for his work this weekend.

it is very likely the summary and questions will be posted later than usual sunday.

i hope this doesn’t cause any problems for any of you, but my apologies to you if you find this inconvenient on his one occasion.

:slight_smile:


(Jane D) #87

Jennifer,

Thanks again for your weekly summaries and great discussion questions. Enjoy your weekend away!

BTW, I have finished the whole book…couldn’t stop/slow down the other night…just went to the end!!


(Jennifer D.) #88

exactly the same experience i had. :smiley:
once i started, i just felt the momentum pulling me forward and didn’t want to put it down .

i don’t known that this will be an enjoyable weekend… introvert’s nightmare, really! :wink: hahaha. but there will be some people we will quite enjoy seeing, and apparently the food will be excellent. kobo will be in the purse. shhhh!!!


(Jane D) #89

Always a plan!!
My lips are sealed!


(Jennifer D.) #90

the smithsonian posted this fascinating article today, so i thought you might be interested in reading it too!


(karenbrissette) #91

better late than never! my new work schedule is horrible, but i have emerged from my hallucinatory wake/sleep blend to finally answer these excellent questions!

  • Prior to starting this novel, had you ever thought about how hard the very act of existing was for neanderthals and early people?

sure, occasionally, when something in a book or documentary or the opening credits to amazing stories cast my mind in that direction.

  • How would you manage if suddenly cast back to neanderthal times, and we had to live as they did?

well, that’s the big question, innit? because i love reading survival stuff: fiction, nonfiction, YA, post-apoc - everything from ernest shackleton to zombie aftermath. and i have picked up some survival tips along the way, but they wouldn’t all be applicable to neanderthal times - no picking through the junkyards to repurpose stuff like macgyver, no plants non-indigenous to - what, eurasia? so no tomato seeds or corn, which i am confident i can grow, and the animals? larger than what’s around now and also not at all scared of humans because at that stage they’re more likely to win in a fight against us, certainly against me, with my bad back and my impulse to be all, “wookit the cute leopard! AAAAHHHHHHH!!” on the other hand, it’s an unspoiled land. no pollution, no runoff, and that “rivers teeming with fish” scene makes me think i’d be okay living off of fish and berries and bunnies and birds. but also no global warming so i would probably freeze to death.

  • Why do you believe Girl was the one banished, and not Him? Was this a fair action ordered by Big Mother?

well, the one who was allowed to stay behind would be responsible for themselves, big mother, and runt. girl is very strong, clever and resourceful and she can easily wait out the separation on her own, but him is a better choice for defense and for hunting to feed two additional people. totally fair and strategic.

  • Were you previously aware of the H.G. Wells story?

nope!

  • Why do you feel Rose is so protective of the dig site, and her role on the project?

well, it’s her discovery, her theory, her reputation on the line - she’s been completely invested in the dig throughout the entire process, from excavating the pieces unharmed to their preservation to interpreting the findings. she’s been living there, getting her hands dirty every day in the slowbirth of a past that fascinates her, and she doesn’t want someone less experienced who doesn’t have the same emotional connection you develop during this kind of close, delicate work coming in and jeopardizing all her hard work.

-Do you have a good feel for the relationship between Rose and Simon? What do you make of it?

they seem compatible, but their connection comes across as superficial and temporary. leading separate, independent lives can be healthy, as long as there’s some emotional depth sustaining the relationship when they’re together, and i don’t see it in these two. although going to ikea and having a crazy fight is a time-honored rite of passage for a couple. (which i just realized is from the reading to be discussed for next week, so - sorry for the huge spoiler)

  • Was there a moment in this part of the reading that really stood out for you?

well, the leopard fight was pretty badass. backtracking to question #2 - that’s where i would get eaten. no doubt.

  • Why do you think Girl’s chapters have numbered titles, whereas Rose’s chapters have word titles?

i can only assume it was to screw up my reading schedule for the first week of this book club. mission accomplished, claire cameron! the numbers work (in theory) for the girl chapters because she experiences the world as a series of days/ time passings and language is not her primary method for identification or expression. the titles of the rose chapters make up a series of objects, either because those are the things we would find if we were to “excavate” rose’s life, or because she herself sees the world in terms of individual objects to be classified. i’m not in love with that decision, though.

  • Do you agree with Andy’s assessment that Rose is brave?

not really. she’s stubborn, proprietary, and prickly, but she’s not doing anything particularly courageous. plenty of women continue to work throughout their pregnancies, and girl fought off leopards while she was pregnant, so i would give her the award for bravery before i gave it to rose.


(Jennifer D.) #92

word!! i am still having trouble digesting what andy meant in calling rose ‘brave’. i have read her more as you describe her, @karenbrissette - tenacious and proprietary. maybe andy was just being diplomatic, to give rose a bit of a morale boost?? :slight_smile:


(Jennifer D.) #93

i am just transcribing the summary so will be posting this week’s stuff in the net while!!


(Jennifer D.) #94

Welcome to this week’s book club goodness!! :smiley:

On the agenda:

17 - 23 September: Chapter 16 through end of Chapter 22

this section includes the following chapters:
16; 17; Pressed Particleboard; 18; 19; 20; Conference Call; 21; 22

Chapter 16

  • Girl decides to travel to the meeting place - she has enough bison for the short-term, and could double portions and eat when hungry – very rare
  • Injuries not as bad as she thought - painful and bad, but things like her fingers are working well and not showing infection
  • Girl feels perhaps Big Mother is looking after her
  • Runt in the tent sleeping - now Girl’s responsibility. They never knew to whom he belonged, but his desire to be useful kept him alive with Girl’s family
  • Rattlesnake drapes across Runt’s neck, while he’s sleeping. Girl terrified. Snake works it way out of the tent without biting Runt - Girl kills it and cooks it for food
  • Runt seems to already have transferred his affections to Girl
  • Runt finds Girl’s shell necklace and is playing with it - Girl sees and gets upset. Runt cries - a terrible sound to Girl
  • Runt then brings Girl Big Mother’s horns
  • Girl shows Runt how to listen to the shell
  • Runt eats a lot of greens - Girl worries he will ingest the wrong thing one time and get sick/die

Chapter 17

  • Girl knows she is pregnant - complicates how she may be received at the meeting place
  • Not wearing horn signals she’ll submit; will enter meeting place as a girl
  • Readying for their departure - very heavy packs with just the 2 of them. Runt’s is too heavy and he topples over, but is determined and eventually manages
  • Takes 3 days to reach the meeting place - no one else is there, though Wildcat has followed
  • Family of bears also arrives at the river, on the opposite bank - they usually arrived after all the families are there. A male bear is further off; mother bear suspicious of it
  • Girl and Runt make a net. Fish arrive a few days later, but they wait a bit for the river to really fill, and the real run begins.
  • Girl feeling empty with no other families present
  • Him and Big Mother had not been buried, just dragged further into the bush - it was too much work for Girl and Runt
  • Girl’s feelings about death and the way a body died flexible, depending on circumstances
  • Girl wonders if the mother bear had come across Big Mother’s body and eaten her - meaning Big Mother would then be part of the mother bear
  • Girl and RUnt gorge on fish

Pressed Particleboard

  • Rose calmer, but still irritated by Caitlin and the journalist at the site
  • Rose says she wishes Simon could have the baby, that he’s better suited to it
  • Rose feels Caitlin appointed as a non-expert purposefully, to leave a gap - power grab - for experts to weigh in, allowing Guy ability to respond and decide what to do
  • Rose feels her science and reputation will get left behind
  • Rose decides she wants to stay in France, have baby, and keep on working, with an eye on the project
  • Simon upset by this
  • They go into Ikea and make up stories about the couples who might live in the displays on the showroom floor
  • Rose asks Simon if he knows why he’s here, why he bothers? (Something that’s come up over the course of their relationship.)
  • Simon doesn’t think about it; Rose feels she knows, and that her reason is the neanderthal - that this will show all her theories are correct
  • They buy shelving - it doesn’t fit in the car and they fight
  • Rose chooses to stay in France. Simon has to return to London for work

Chapter 18

  • Girl and Runt spend short summer season with the fish and bears
  • Girl is lonely, but Runt is thriving
  • Big male bear stirring up trouble - Girl and Runt climb up a tree to get out of the way
  • Mother and male bear fight - she’s protecting her cubs, which male bear will eat if he can
  • Runt down on the ground roaring and marching towards male bear - Runt successfully runs off the make bear, but now Runt has tilted the long-standing truce. Girl not sure what to do with Runt over this.

Chapter 19

  • Story gives a bit of a contrast between bears and Girl over winter requirements and how the winters are handled - some similarities, many differences
  • Girl’s baby due at height of winter - big risk. Late-summer babies are optimal
  • Girl bigger with pregnancy
  • Girl notices a body on a high rocky lookout - she signals to it, but it disappears
  • Girl decides to go and find her sister Big Girl’s family

Chapter 20

  • Runt and Girl leave the meeting place with as much dried fish, berries, and hazelnuts as they could carry. Runt handles his heavier pack more easily now. Wildcat with them still, and very healthy
  • Girl catches scent of the oby, has a sour scent of a scavenger - this unsettles Girl
  • She finds footprints - small, narrow, funny
  • Runt seems excited as the follow the track - he’s being very vocal. They find a hearth and a tool

Conference Call

  • Lab confirmation: skeletons are a female neanderthal and a human male
  • Positions of bodies suggests eye contact and communication
  • Rose had found a shell-shaped object with a hole through it - excitement about finding ornamentation on a neanderthal, which supports Rose’s theory
  • Those who disagreed often pointed to a lack of neanderthal jewelry and painting as the absence of abstract thought among neanderthals
  • Object sent to museum for expert opinion and this is what conference call is about
  • The call is challenging to Rose - Caitlin sort of smooths things over – the image is the story; science theories remain theories, but 2 skeletons speak to everyone’s imagination
  • Caitlin and Rose have a conversation afterwards. Caitlin seems to be expressing concern for Rose; Rose believes Caitlin comparing gibbons and humans and laughs uncontrollably - she later apologizes to Caitlin for this outburst
  • Rose updates the group on the call, then Caitlin steps in. Rose feels shift in power

Chapter 21

  • Girl and Runt arrive at Big Girl’s camp - no one’s there.
  • Girl doesn’t catch the scent of a dead body, but Runt finds it
  • Body has coverings on its feet
  • The body is Big Girl’s and she seems to have had sunbite
  • Runt gives Girl a cat kiss on her nose, learned from Wildcat
  • Runt builds a fire; Girl digs a grave and buries her sister with family
  • Rose has to find a new way to survive without family

Chapter 22

  • Girl hunting bison
  • Has decided to stay at Big Girl’s camp, rather than return to Big Mother’s land
  • Girl teaching Runt more skills, like foraging
  • Fall season
  • Wolves chasing bison, isolate and kill older female
  • Girl approaches the carcass after wolves have fed - she gets meat and two legs
  • No triumph in this small victory
  • “Everything had changed.”

Discussion Questions

Please feel free to ask your own questions, or introduce your own discussion topics for the chapters covered this week. The questions below are merely prompts to help us along, but should not limit you in anyway. :slight_smile:

  1. Is it possible to draw more of a parallel between Girl and Rose at this stage in the story?
  2. Is there a deeper meaning to the incident with Runt and the rattlesnake?
  3. It is noted that Girl’s feelings about death and the way a body dies were ‘flexible, depending on circumstances.’ What do you think this means?
  4. Do you feel Rose makes the best decision for herself in choosing to stay in France to have her baby, in order to keep an eye on the project? And what of Simon?
  5. How do you feel about Caitlin’s involvement in the story to this point?
  6. As Girl track the footprints, Runt is visibly excited – why do you think this is?
  7. How are you feeling at the end of chapter 22, as Rose scavenges the wolves bison?
  8. Is there one moment or scene that stood out to you in this section of the read?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on these chapters of the story!!!


(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #95

Is it possible to draw more of a parallel between Girl and Rose at this stage in the story?

Yes, and this is what I was most anticipating - the parallels that would be drawn between Girl and Rose. While Girl’s fight for survival is far more perilous, Rose feels as though she must fight while pregnant to “survive” or keep her life long research and work going and relevant and focused on what she has been working for years on.

Is there a deeper meaning to the incident with Runt and the rattlesnake?
Oh good question, and this is where I really love these group discussions - I can’t really say if there is a deeper meaning to it - I’m sure it’s a great one and I look forward to hearing if others have anything to say about this.

Do you feel Rose makes the best decision for herself in choosing to stay in France to have her baby, in order to keep an eye on the project? And what of Simon?
No, of course not, but in a way I can understand - she’s afraid of her life’s work going on without her input or direction. Giving up that level of control and turning it over to something else entirely is not Rose’s manner. She’s never turned herself completely over to anyone, lost that much control. I feel for Simon, certainly. It must be incredibly frustrating being with a person like Rose - she’s just not willing to surrender. There is a point in the story where Rose is in front of the museum people defending and often being ridiculed or scoffed at for her opinion. This is the part where I felt the most strongly in defence of Rose and the moment that really stood out here for me (and had me enjoying Rose’s storyline more). How often as a woman has this happened? Had this been a male researcher they would not have openly scoffed at his opinions and tried to dismiss them in the way they were doing to Rose. So I can understand her NEED to stay on the site, ensure that her life’s work continued in the way she has channeled it all along and to keep the credit for her work where the credit is due - firmly with her.


(Kim@Time2Read) #96

I am really enjoying this month’s selection. Great pick!
Here are my thoughts.

Is it possible to draw more of a parallel between Girl and Rose at this stage in the story?

I am beginning to see more parallels between the 2 women, though I still don’t think they are very well drawn. Both are coming to near the end of their preganancies and are feeling a bit impaired by the ‘bulk of the belly’. Both are also feeling the loss of what holds the most meaning to them for their life; Girl has lost most of her family and fears losing Runt, and Rose has lost her much of her ability to do her job independently, and fears she may completely lose her life’s work.

Is there a deeper meaning to the incident with Runt and the rattlesnake?

Probably, but I’m not seeing it yet. I’m not good at this. Like drawing parallels between the two women, I pretty much need to be hit over the head with it to see it!

It is noted that Girl’s feelings about death and the way a body dies were ‘flexible, depending on circumstances.’ What do you think this means?

We saw that Rose’s feelings changed, depending on circumstances. With the death of Bent, the family was relatively well off, with plenty of food and plenty of time to grieve and give him a proper and respectful burial. The family used his death to ‘feed’ a tree. With the death of Him and Big Mother, time was very short and food was scarce, and the remnant of the family needed to move on in order to survive. Their bodies were simply dragged into the brush and left to ‘feed’ predators. In both cases though, I think girl made a connection to the continuity of life and interdependence of life-forms.

Do you feel Rose makes the best decision for herself in choosing to stay in France to have her baby, in order to keep an eye on the project? And what of Simon?

Do I personally think it was the best choice? Of course not! I think Rose thinks she is making the best choice because she is putting herself and her career first and not concerned about the baby’s health or survival. I don’t think she is uncaring. I think she is simply naive and doesn’t realize all that could go wrong with a baby, and perhaps she doesn’t yet think of the baby as a ‘person’. But her decision is not the best for Simon, who is left to worry, or the baby, who is probably not getting the best of care. Have they even mentioned any prenatal care? And ultimately, I don’t think it is the best decision for Rose; but I don’t think she will realize it until after the baby comes and she learns the baby is at least as important to her as her career.

How do you feel about Caitlin’s involvement in the story to this point?

I don’t have a lot of thoughts about Caitlin at this point. She seems like a nice enough person, and I think she tries to be helpful. She also doesn’t seem think of herself as being ‘in competition’ with Rose for her job. Perhaps she is exactly what Rose thinks she is; someone competent enough to handle the research in Rose’s absence, but compliant enough to allow the museum and Guy to interpret the findings however they wish.

As Girl track the footprints, Runt is visibly excited – why do you think this is?

I’m not sure; I have different thoughts about Runt as I’ve read through this book. At times I wonder if he is not Neanderthal. Would Girl recognize a body from Homo sapiens? I’m not sure, but I don’t think she has ever met anyone outside her species. As Runt is small, I have to wonder if he is. And the story makes a point of the prints beings narrow and small, like a child. I am wondering if Runt recognizes them as belonging to the family he was once part of, and that is why he is excited about them. Is he about to reunite with his family?

How are you feeling at the end of chapter 22, as Rose scavenges the wolves bison?

I think Girl has felt a shift in the power. On some level, even though the family is at risk to predators, I think she still has felt superior and in control, the body to be deferred to by other bodies when there is a kill. She now is in a position where there is not just a truce, as with the bears, but where she has to submit to the will of other bodies in order to survive. Instead of being the one in charge of the kill, granting others the privilege of eating, she has become reliant on another species to grant that permission to her.

Is there one moment or scene that stood out to you in this section of the read?

For me, the moment that stood out in this section is the moment when Girl discovers the remains of Big Girl. Until this point, they have had something to move forward towards; family. Now Girl is realizing that there is no family to find. There will be no one to help them hunt and to provide ‘warm’. She and Runt are on their own.


(Bookjunkie ) #97

Do you feel Rose makes the best decision for herself in choosing to stay in France to have her baby, in order to keep an eye on the project? And what of Simon?

No, Rose did not make best choice for her baby or her relationship. I understand she is connected to her discovery and wants the hard earned credit for it. She appears, hormonal, selfish, must have her own way on everything to the risks of the health of her baby, herself & Simon. He seems very into her, she doesn’t seem that into him, or the baby. He does appear that he can be pushed past his limits though. No, prenatal care is never mentioned.

I am much more attached to Girl’s story. She is far more interesting & she cares for Runt. Rose doesn’t come across as capable for caring for live humans.


(Jennifer D.) #98

so many great thoughts on this section of the book – thank you, @Penny_Literary_Hoarders, @Kim, and @Bookjunkie! :slight_smile:


(Jennifer D.) #99

i also can struggle with meanings – the moment with the rattlesnake and Runt seemed… important or statement-making? i’m just not sure, really, if there is any deeper significance, beyond surviving a threat. Girl’s killing and cooking was quite a ‘so take THAT! snake!’ moment. :wink:

like some of you, i can understand why rose feels she must stay on/near the site rather than returning to london with simon. she is territorial about the discovery and her research. caitlin does seem capable enough – though i don’t feel she’s very deeply developed enough for me to really know – and doesn’t seem to want to push rose out. rose is quite defensive, almost combative, about her space and work at the site. so i’m not sure there would be anyone she would be comfortable leaving the site with, beyond andy and i guess he’s not senior enough??

i feel like, from the descriptions we have been given, Runt is not neanderthal… it’s been noted a few times so far his small stature and different build, and how he’s quite hairless on comparison. when he got more vocal ‘eagle see’ while following the tracks, i wondered very much if he noticed they were like his own?


(Jennifer D.) #100

i’m just curious about where everyone is at with the reading?

if most participants have finished, we could open the discussion right up, without worry for spoilers.

:slight_smile: