“The end of the cave bear”: My experience and tips on how to read a long saga in a foreign language

13 de agosto de 2011 | Por | Categoría: Literatura, Reseñas

By Bertrand Russell

It’s been about a year now since I reached a tipping point finishing my first massive novel in English, “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, whose review was posted in May 2010 in this digital magazine.

Although it was, from time to time, a bit boring book with never ending botanic descriptions, I was really so engrossed in the story that, in spite of my former teacher’s reading advice, I couldn’t help giving a chance to the complete five huge books of the “Earth’s Children” series .

The other four books of the saga have taken my reading time for nearly eight months. Fortunately I took up the challenge on my holidays and spare time, namely S. Bernabé, summer holidays, S. Mateo, Spanish national festivities, the Constitution Anniversary and, eventually, Christmas.

Anyway, the corner stone of my interest in these eight months and a journey of about 3000 pages is how the author takes us back to the customs, techniques, behaviour, religion, arts and, to sum up, the human being’s development in the prehistoric time.

According to some research I have done about the writer, J.M Auel, she has spent lots of years studying in depth the ancient world of the homo nearthentalensis and the homo sapiens that lived for long in what we now know as Europe.

In the first book, the relatively small number of characters featured in a basically empty scenery just makes the dangerous nature be the perfect counterpart in the story.

In spite of the rather simple plot, the continuous adventures going on keep the reader’s interest in the book.

I would like to advise any person studying a foreign language to give a try to the original versions and start reading books in the target language as soon as they get an intermediate level.

First of all, it is not as difficult as it may seem. Any reading day will help you to improve your comprehension skills, no matter whether you are really aware of it or not. Also, you will get more confident and familiar with the most frequent vocabulary appearing in your favorite story.

As a matter of fact, according to my experience, those expressions and grammar cases that you learn in class will be continuously showing up as you read your novel, so most of them will turn to be unforgettable.

Finally, I would like to give you some advice: Be sure that your book is not just the beginning of a never ending saga!

To my distress, I have just learned that my five books saga has (after more than 20 year from the first book) recently been completed with a supposedly final book.

I am afraid that I am not going to start with it, there are many other books of my interest, including my teacher’s recommendations.

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