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Review: The Last Neanderthal

There’s a moment in Claire Cameron’s new novel The Last Neanderthal when Girl — the Neanderthal hero — curls her lip to expose her gums to the air, so she can better read the energy of the forest. It’s a form of listening that allowed Neanderthals to be alert to signs of danger. Communicating with animals, trees and other natural phenomenon, Girl is able to discern where there’s an energetic discord, disharmony on the territory her family calls home.

Girl’s inviolable trust in the innate wisdom of her body stands in stark contrast to the cerebral hyper-focus of the book’s contemporary foil. Rosamund Gale, leading a secretive dig in France, is a driven archeologist whose evolutionary strength rests in her ability to negotiate with the complexities of the twenty-first century through bullish intelligence and reason.

Read the rest of my review of Claire Cameron’s The Last Neanderthal online at The Toronto Star.