"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 . Read more...
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"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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Following his nonfiction works The Golden Spruce and The Tiger, Vaillant delivers a dramatic, tense novel that begins in the claustrophobic confines of a water truck, in which 15 would-be immigrants to the U.S. are trapped; among them are Hector María de la Soledad Lázaro Gonzalez and his friend Cesar Ramírez Santiago. When the vehicle lurches and suddenly stops, it knocks Cesar unconscious, leaving Hector to search for a cellphone signal to send out an SOS. A series of text messages and sound files form the narrative as Hector tries to contact AnniMac, the only contact in Cesar’s phone with a U.S. number. The author doesn’t let the reader get trapped alongside the duo, however, instead including a series of flashbacks in which Hector relates stories from his family history and the events that led him to join Cesar in fleeing Mexico. Taking on illegal immigration and human trafficking, as well as the misdeeds of multinational corporations, the book is sometimes didactic, although the importance of its themes, which closely mirror life, cannot be doubted. (Jan.)