Saturday, May 20, 2017

"The Last Neanderthal"

Claire Cameron's first novel, The Line Painter, was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best crime first novel and won the Northern Lit Award from the Ontario Library Service. Her second novel, The Bear, became a #1 national bestseller in Canada and was long-listed for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Cameron applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, The Last Neanderthal, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Last Neanderthal describes a family of Neanderthals just after they have successfully killed a bison. The action sequence before, the hunt that almost goes wrong, is an exciting passage, but page 69 shows the true tension in the family. Though they are not fighting over the meat, the passage is full of politics. They are measuring each other up. Him, the older brother, gets caught staring at his sister inappropriately, "all the reverence and respect for skill an strength mixed with the swill of his spit." His mother catches the look and throws a well aimed rock at his head.

Runt, the slightly stunted looking boy the family has taken in, is unsure of his place and feels nervous. But just at the end of the page, he gets a piece, "he ripped and pulled with a snarl until a manageable bite came loose."

I'd say this passage is hilariously representative of the book. That said, the modern story, about a pregnant archaeologist named Rose who discovers ancient remains, is not represented. Otherwise the page 69 shows lots of sideways looks, lust, and meat -- that says it all!
Visit Claire Cameron's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Line Painter.

--Marshal Zeringue