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Mother Earth Father Sky (The Ivory Carver Trilogy Book 1) by [Harrison, Sue]
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Mother Earth Father Sky (The Ivory Carver Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This debut novel about a woman's struggle to survive in the prehistoric wilderness will not topple Jean Auel from her preeminent position on the bestseller charts. When 13-year-old Chagak's tribe and family are massacred by invaders, she buries the dead and paddles out to sea in search of a new home. An old shaman named Shuganan befriends and shelters her but cannot prevent her forced marriage to one of the warriors who destroyed her village. The novel's only multi-dimensional character, Chagak is charming in her naivete, headstrong and determined in the face of trauma, and a proto-feminist who challenges strict gender roles by learning to be both child-bearer and hunter. The imaginative prose that wove spirituality and myth into Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's Reindeer Moon would be a welcome addition to Harrison's childlike language, slow-paced plot, and unsophisticated characterizations. Instruction in how to build a ulaq, sew suk, carve an amulet, or bone a whale cannot save her tale from intellectual and emotional simplicity, which may reflect the primitive Amerindian mindset but makes for dull reading. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Harrison has gone back 9000 years in time to tell the story of Chagak, a young woman who struggles to survive when her family and village are slaughtered by the warlike Short Ones. Her only ally is a crippled recluse who offers her shelter on his island. But what can either of them do when Chagak is demanded in marriage by one of the men who killed her family? Likely to be compared to Jean Auel's "Earth's Children" books, Harrison's novel is constructed on a much smaller scale, but her depiction of early American civilizations is nevertheless convincing. Chagak is a believable and appealing heroine; readers will care what happens to her. Given the popularity of fiction set in prehistoric times, this should be in demand in public libraries. Literary Guild main selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/90.
- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N. Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1679 KB
  • Print Length: 419 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media; 1st edition (May 28, 2013)
  • Publication Date: May 28, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00COWLYDY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,789 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Prehistories are for a hard sell for me. I don't know why, but they are difficult for me to get into so when I manage to find one that holds my interest, I tend to take notice which brings me to Mother Earth Father Sky by Sue Harrison.

Like Song of the River, this piece is character heavy, but what is so remarkable is how distinct, well-rounded and realistic each cast member feels. I can't imagine what goes into painting the motivations, personality and emotional struggles of so many characters so vividly, but Harrison's effort certainly isn't wasted. In point of fact, I feel the authentic quality of her cast is what makes not just this piece, but her entire body of work so exceptional.

Speaking of relatable characters, I should probably mention my attraction to Chagak. Her path is a difficult one, but as a woman who had to overcome sexual abuse, I really admire Harrison for creating a character that doesn't allow the experience to define her life. I've seen authors attempt this story line before, but can honestly say few have pulled it off as well.

Strong characterization isn't the only aspect of Harrison's work worth mentioning. Her books are long, but they are also overflowing with cultural history. I might be going out on a limb, but I think it safe to say Harrison puts as much into her research as she does developing her plot lines and her cast. Her understanding and respect for the indigenous people of North America emanates from every page, making her work as intriguing as it is entertaining.

All told, Mother Earth Father Sky is a beautiful story of perseverance and strength amidst incredible hardship, as notable for its content as its flawless presentation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chagrak is a young prehistoric girl whose village is massacred by evil foreigners called short ones.. She flees the village with her little brother. Later she encounters an elderly hermit and lives with him until the Short Ones arrive and make trouble. Can Chagrak fight back and reclaim her dignity?

I found Mother Earth Father Sky a gripping read from start to finish. It was difficult at times putting it down. The cover itself is nothing much... So don't let it fool you. If you like Prehistoric fiction, you'll like this one. Downsides? The beginning where the heroine's village is massacred is very cliche. Also, Chagrak is only 13, and while I know this was considered an adult back then I had difficulty envisioning her being quite that resilient. Finally, her relationship at the end seemed passionless and uninteresting. I would've liked to see some attraction between the two. There was more of a bond between her and Shuganan despite his age.

5 stars. A gripping read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So, maybe I shouldn't get a vote because I only got halfway through the book, but I thought there was an awful lot of teeth-bashing gore that didn't do much for the plot besides make you tired of it. The main character is basically the hostage of a genocidal jerk for a big chunk of the book, leaving an awful lot of room for the author to create (straight from her own head) various societal norms for various peoples of the north 9000 years ago. If she had gone for less brutality, more of a survival story (which is what the book was billed as) I would have been ok with it. Some of the details are nice, but she lost me as a reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel surprised me. I agree that prehistory is a tough sell. Do we really relate to a hunter-gatherer society? Sue Harrison is excellent at creating a heroic character, Chagak and a fascinating wise man as well as a brutal hunter, a patient suitor and much more. We even get to know Chagak's mother, though she is dead. Her wisdom shines through the thoughts of Chagak as she struggles to not only survive, but prevail against a cruel environment and crueler still, the Short Ones who devastated her life.

I love this book for the anthropological detail on how these people used seal skins, bird feathers, bones, sinew and how they stored and cooked their food. This is amazing and written in such a natural way to the story that it blends in seamlessly. And Chagak is a wonderful character that makes me want to know more and more about her life. I want to read more by this author, and thankfully, there are other books in this series.
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Harrison's writing gives prehistory a voice and a face, feelings that even the earliest people share with people today. The very basics of life had value, and the joy and sorrow of simply living had meaning. Just as today, there was something in a person that made each one special. Some were joyful,others were cruel and made life difficult. The bravery of Chagall is remarkable and her spirit carries the story. Such a hard life,but still she was able to see beauty and goodness.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jean Auel doesn't even compare to Sue Harrison! I read the first two books in the Jean Auel's series and by the third I could not take it anymore, I just shut the book. Long and boring! I have read all six of Sue Harrison's and I recommend them to everyone. They are full of action, intrigue, history, culture, and on the sensual side. Sue Harrison really done her research, it shows through her detailed culture and vivid traditions. She truly respects the indigenous race and most importantly she wrote her characters with morals and values, making them human instead of Godless savages the way some authors write. She wrote them as they were, descendants really appreciate this.
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