From the best-selling author of The Tiger and The Golden Spruce, this debut novel is a gripping survival story of a young man trapped, perhaps fatally, during a border crossing.
Hector is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers' money for a mechanic and have not returned. Those left behind have no choice but to wait.
Hector finds a name in his friend Cesar's phone. AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message Cesar has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?
Over four days, as water and food run low, Hector tells how he came to this desperate place. His story takes us from Oaxaca - its rich culture, its rapid change - to the dangers of the border. It exposes the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte - land of promise and opportunity, homewrecker and unreliable friend. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Hector fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world.
Both an outstanding suspense novel and an arresting window into the relationship between two great cultures, The Jaguar's Children shows how deeply interconnected all of us, always, are.
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Amazing Storytelling and Shocking
Stories within Stories
John Vaillant an acclaimed non-fiction author, (The Tiger) and journalist has unflinchingly tackled a difficult subject matter for his first novel. He delivers the story in a unique and innovative way.
The book starts with Héctor sending a text message asking for help and then continues being told with sound files. Héctor along with 12 others who are trying to cross the Mexico / USA border are trapped inside a water truck tank. The coyotes paid to make the crossing have taken their money and left them to die. Over the next four days with a one bar signal on the phone he holds out hope that the contact he is texting and speaking to will bring help, or the slight chance the coyotes will return. (no spoilers - I won't say if they're saved)
Vaillant shines a light on many of the broad issues affecting the indigenous people of Mexico today and manages to seamlessly weaves Héctor's family into the turbulent history. You'll be routing for Héctor from start to finish.
An added bonus to this book is, if you don't know any Spanish you will learn some as the story unfolds.
Many aspects of this story will remain with me.
- Christine Wenzel