The Jaguar's ChildrenBook - 2015
"Terrifying . . . Though the geography of the story is that of Cormac McCarthy, the plot shares more territory with Edgar Allan Poe . . . An end that is improbable, dripping with irony, and entirely satisfying." -- Outside
"Vaillant writes with power and emotion, affection and respect . . . An eloquent literary dissection of the divide between the United States and Mexico." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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.
From the critics
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All my life it was my abuelo who danced the jaguar to the music of the flute and drum through the smoke of copal burning, but when I was young I didn't know it was him, only that you never found the two of them together. No one saw him put it on - not the mask he carved himself or the suit of spots Abuela made. Some said he got the paint from the men who made the highway - black and yellow for the skin, red and white for the tongue and teeth, his own hair for the whiskers. I still don't know where he found the eyes and he could never tell. When I was older I understood that they were made of mirror glass and when he came close - close enough to bite - it wasn't only his eyes staring at you but your eyes also. For a moment you were the jaguar too.
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