The Valley of Horses

Cover of “The Valley of Horses” shows Ayla, sling in hand, looking at horses
Ayla’s a whiz with her slingshot

For most of its length, Jean M. Auel’s The Valley of Horses* is two stories about prehistoric Europe.

In the first story,  a young woman who has been turned out of her adoptive home finds an unoccupied cave in a remote valley.

Ayla is tall, blonde, and beautiful, a skilled hunter, healer, and toolmaker.

She tames a wild colt and a great lion cub, but she’d rather have a human mate.

Meanwhile, 1,000 miles away, two human brothers are setting out to explore.

Their journey takes them to a riverside village where Thonolan meets and loses the love of his life.

Despondent, Thonolan packs to leave. Jondalar, fearing for his brother’s mental state, accompanies him, though he’d rather go back home.

After losing their boat and belongings, the brothers end up in the mountains where Thonolan is killed by Ayla’s lion and Jondalar—Did I mention he’s a gorgeous hunk?— is rescued by Ayla.

Valley is full of fascinating, esoteric information about prehistoric life, but Auel’s depictions of primitive men’s use of language is ludicrous. In one paragraph, strangers are bewildered by each other’s grunts; five sentences later they’re discussing fluid dynamics like engineers in a graduate seminar.

I’ve heard more plausible prehistoric male communication up the street at Bob’s Diner.

The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel
Crown. ©1982. 502 p.
1982 bestseller #6. My grade: C

*The Valley of Horses is the second novel in Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children™ series (The Clan of the Cave Bear was the first) and the only one of the series to make the 20th century’s bestsellers list.

© 2019 Linda G. Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

2 thoughts on “The Valley of Horses”

  1. Hey Linda! I have been trying to unsubscribe from your blog posts for a month now yet I’m still receiving them. Can you please delete my email address from your list. I’m just trying to de-clutter my inbox. Thanks so much!

    On Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM Great Penformances wrote:

    > Linda Aragoni posted: ” For most of its length, Jean M. Auel’s The Valley > of Horses* is two stories about prehistoric Europe. In the first story, a > young woman who has been turned out of her adoptive home finds an > unoccupied cave in a remote valley. Ayla is tall, blon” >

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    1. I’m sorry to lose a subscriber, but understand the need to de-clutter. Unsubscribes are handled by WordPress.com. You need to use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the posts you receive. Be sure you’re clicking the unsubscribe link. The other link offers several additional options whose functions are obscure.

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