The Jaguar's Children

The Jaguar's Children

Book - 2015
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"Hector, a young Zapotec fleeing Mexico for a better life in the US with his friend Cesar, a biotech researcher, pays to be smuggled across the border by unscrupulous "coyotes," concealed in the tightly sealed, empty tank of a water truck packed with illegal migrants. Abandoned by the smugglers in the desert, they are left to die, their only lifeline Cesar's phone. When Cesar slips into unconsciousness, Hector reaches out to the one name with an American code--AnniMac--that becomes his lifeline to the world as he reveals what has brought him to this place, taking us back to an older Mexico; to the lives of his Zapotec grandparents and the ancient, mythic traditions, to the mystery behind the jaguar icon left to him by a mysterious archeologist, and the power of the corn myth. As legends fuse with the terrifying present, the dangers Cesar is fleeing become grippingly apparent: his research was threatening to expose the country's largest manufacturer of genetically modified corn, set to impose economic and cultural genocide on the native population. Finding the courage to survive is critical, even as hope dwindles."--
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c2015
ISBN: 9780307397164
Branch Call Number: VAI
Characteristics: 280 p. ;,24 cm

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d
DeltaQueen50
Dec 11, 2017

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant is a literary thriller whose intense story grabs the reader immediately. Hector, a young Mexican is fleeing his homeland in the hope of a better life in America. He and his friend Cesar have paid the smugglers or “coyotes” for space inside a sealed water tanker truck. Sitting in the damp, pitch black truck is terrible, but they console themselves that it will only be for a few hours. But something goes terribly wrong and the people in the truck are abandoned in the desert, totally sealed in the dark truck and left to die.

This book brings the voice of a dying boy, trapped in an unbearable situation to life. These people are trying to come north in the hope for a future as there is no future where they originated. What they have found: suffocation, intense thirst, unbearable high temperatures during the day and frigid conditions at night pushes any moral complexity the reader may have about the issue of illegal immigrants aside. These are fellow humans suffering a terrible fate. What makes this novel all the more terrifying is that it is based on a true story of a situation much like this one that occured outside Victoria, Texas in 2003. A difficult read, but one that is very current with the conditions that exist in the world today.

b
bibliovore
Jul 30, 2015

A compelling, riveting read packed with social commentary. Like the narrator himself, readers won't know how (or if) Hector's plight is resolved until the very end.

m
mclarjh
Jul 20, 2015

Easy to read popular fiction. The author spent one year living in Oaxaca. The story is contrived, melodramatic, and dominated by male characters. (I have been visiting Oaxaca for 30 years and enjoyed reading about some of the place names, but repeat visitors will gain little or no insight from this novel.)

patcumming Jun 19, 2015

A suspenseful and harrowing story that highlights the plight of Mexican migrants. Well told but the political statements overshadow the story at times.

u
ultragirl
Feb 02, 2015

A riveting read. As Hector waits for a rescue he reflects on his life in Mexico, what brought him to this point and shares all the wisdom and history his beloved grandfather imparted to him. Will he be saved or not - we don't know until the story's end. A more fictionalized style than his last book. Enjoyed this book.

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Duske
Jun 25, 2015

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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