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Reindeer Moon [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1991
A fictional account of the life of a Siberian tribe 20,000 years ago, from the author of "Harmless People" and "Warrior Herdsmen". It is both the story of a daily struggle for survival against starvation, cold and violence, and an evocation of spiritual journeys and primitive magic.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reissue edition (Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671741896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671741891
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,570,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
MY NAME WAS YANAN and my story began where it ended, in Graylag's lodge on the highest terrace above the north bank of the Char River. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars uncanny and sublime, a masterpiece of magic realism 26 April 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Simply one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. Easily the best invocation of what life may well have been like for our hunting and gathering ancestors, and a stupendous illustration of animistic modes of experience, and of the reciprocity between human beings and the living land. Brilliant insights into the sensorial worlds of other animals -- wolves, mammoths, and others -- as well as into mysteriously beautiful styles of thought and awareness still common among many indigenous, oral peoples. An anthropological and deeply ecological classic -- and yet its a novel! Its not for those who like their nature sentimental and sweet, but if you care about the wild otherness so rapidly dissappearing from our world, don't miss this astonishing book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reindeer Moon 8 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This book is set in Siberia 20,000 years ago. The narrator died before the story began and tells her story from the point of view of a spirit. As a spirit she can remember her life as human (aged from about 10 to her late teens); she can observe the current life of her family group; and she change and live as another animal such as a wolf or a mammoth. The three strands are intertwined, each being explored in some depth. The reader is quickly drawn in and stays involved right to the end. It’s a book you think about when you are not reading it, and long after you’ve finished.
The historical background appears to be well researched and the picture of life as a daily struggle seems very realistic. It is by no means a life that can be dismissed as 'nasty, brutish and short' but it is hard to survive in a harsh environment and parts of the tale were almost unbearably harrowing for me as a reader. Socially there are many elements, which we recognise, even comparing our centrally heated world with periglacial Siberia: jealousy, dishonestly, love and naivety to name but a few. The characters each have a mix of good and evil – mostly, non-judgementally described.
I believe the author was an anthropologist among modern hunter-gatherers before writing this book and I wonder how many of her ideas grow out of this background? I was surprised at how she depicted people living in such difficult circumstance who did not always share all resources and look after each other as a matter of course. I would also expect your average Palaeolithic man or woman on the stone to have some knowledge of folk medicine, which this community seemed to lack entirely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning - An anthropologically authentic novel 14 Sep 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great novel that needs to come with a warning. It's has such an rich and authentic texture that those readers who like to submerge themselves in other cultures might get lost in this and never wholly emerge afterwards.

Anthropologist Elizabeth Thomas Marshall brought her training and field experience to bear in this novel to paint a detailed portrait of the struggles of a Paleolithic nomadic people in what is now Siberia, all seen thru the eyes of a young woman. Marshall also did the unexpected. Starting from Chapter 2, and in alternate chapters, she presented the surrealistic vision of the afterlife that these primitives held. The aggregate is more of a mood piece than an action story. More insightful than heart-pounding.

This is not a Jean Auel-type novel. It's more demanding. It's anthropologically sound. And very haunting.
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