The Jaguar's Children: A Novel by John VaillantThe Jaguar's Children: A Novel by John Vaillant

The Jaguar's Children: A Novel

byJohn Vaillant

Hardcover | January 11, 2017

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From the #1 bestselling, award-winning author of The Golden Spruce and The Tiger: a rich, gripping literary thriller in the spirit of The Constant Gardener that showcases the narrative power for which John Vaillant is internationally acclaimed.
          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.
JOHN VAILLANT's first book, The Golden Spruce, was a #1 national bestseller, winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the Pearson Writer's Trust Non-Fiction Award and the Roderick Haig Brown Regional Prize. The Tiger was a #1 national bestseller, a Canada Reads selection, a Globe and Mail Best Book, and won the ...
Title:The Jaguar's Children: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.31 × 6.24 × 1.03 inPublished:January 11, 2017Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307397165

ISBN - 13:9780307397164

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant To say this novel is about corporate evil or transgenic mutation or Mexicans dying of thirst in a sealed truck on the Arizona border doesn't begin to do justice to Vaillant's brilliant, all-encompassing narrative. Intensely political and astoundingly poetic, "The Jaguar's Children" is at once an elegy and a eulogy, surpassing even "The Golden Spruce" in its storytelling scope. Roberto Bolano must be cheering from the grave.
Date published: 2015-02-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Unsure I won a copy of this book and was asked to review it. It seems that I am in the minority, I just could not get into this book. The premise and the preview I read looked great. When I received the book though and started reading, I just could not make myself read for more then a few pages at a time. It jumps all over and the main character is leaving voice mails that tell the story. But some of the story that is left on the msgs seems out of place, he is trapped in a tanker truck with other illegal immigrants trying to enter the USA and it all goes wrong. I will have to try this book at a later date but for now I could not recommend it as I did not manage to finish reading after attempting to for over a month.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling read You've read the newspaper stories, seen accounts and shows on the news and television - the desperate attempts of those from other countries attempting to cross the border into the United States - illegally. John Vaillant's new book (and his first work of fiction), The Jaguar's Children, starts with that as the premise, but then goes in a direction I hadn't expected. Hector, his friend Cesar and some others leave Mexico sealed into the tank of a water truck. But when the truck breaks down, the 'coyotes' promise they'll return soon with a mechanic and leave the group sealed inside..... Hector finds an American number on Cesar's phone and texts it, but there is no reply. When the signal dies, he instead begins to record a series of messages - perhaps to send if the signal comes back.....or if the coyotes don't return, someone will know their story. Oh boy, it was disturbing to imagine being trapped in a metal tank, somewhere in the sun, with limited food and water - and a load of desperate people. And this is what I thought Vaillant's story would be about - but it was so much more. Vaillant takes the novel beyond the confines of the tanker. The Jaguar's Children is amazing storytelling on so many levels - the nail biting tension of those trapped in the truck, the story of the Hector's life and his people - both immediate and on a larger scale as the vibrant history and legacy of the Zapotec are woven into his recordings. There's much food for thought as GMOs also figure into another plot thread. It's impossible to read this book without examining and questioning the relationship between cultures, countries and politics. The Jaguar's Children is all the more compelling and intimate told in Hector's single narrative. And throughout it all, the reader wonders if they will be rescued......A compelling, thought provoking, richly written read.
Date published: 2015-01-19

Read from the Book

Thu Apr 5 — 08:31 [text]hello i am sorry to bother you but i need your assistance —i am hector — cesars friend — its an emergency now for cesar — are you in el norte? i think we are also — arizona near nogales or sonoita — since yesterday we are in this truck with no one coming — we need water and a doctor — and a torch for cutting metalThu Apr 5 — 08:48please text me annimac — we need helpThu Apr 5 — 08:59are you there annimac? it’s hector — please text meThu Apr 5 — 09:52there was a storm — 1 bar only now — ARE YOU THERE???Thu Apr 5 — 10:091 bar — something’s broken — maybe from the lightning — thehelicopter came again but doesn’t stop — how do they not seeus? nothing going nowThu Apr 5 — 10:26 [soundfile]Hello? I hope this works. Still one bar only but I’m recording now and when the signal comes back I will send it in a soundfile with all the details and the information from César. He is badly hurt, AnniMac — unconscious. I looked in his contacts for someone else, but the Mexican numbers won’t work now, and you are the only one with an American code. I hope you are his friend. I know him from school, but I haven’t seen him in many years. We’ve been together only a short time now to cross the border and already he gave me so many things. I have been telling him he’s not alone, that I sent you messages and you’re coming soon, that you will save us. I don’t know if he hears, but in this darkness how will he know to live without a voice — some sign of life? So I talk to him, and to you also. AnniMac, if you get these messages and come to look for us what you are looking for is a water truck — an old Dina. The tank is a big one — ten thousand liters and you will know it when you see an adobe-color truck that says on the side AGUA PARA USO HUMANO — Water for Human Use. But that doesn’t mean you can drink it. This one is different because someone has painted J and R so it says now JAGUAR PARA USO HUMANO. I saw this in the garage before we loaded and I didn’t know if it was graffiti or some kind of code, the secret language of coyotes, but then I was nervous to ask and later it was too late.

Editorial Reviews

LONGLISTED 2017 ­– International Dublin Literary AwardFINALIST 2015 ­– Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize“Tension-filled narrative…. With superb minor characters like Don Serafín…and Hector’s abuelo, …Hector’s reflections on Oaxacan culture fascinate. Vaillant writes with power and emotion, affection and respect for the Zapotec people and lands, a fertile place, where ‘the corn made possible everything we do and are,’ now imperiled by international agribusiness. An eloquent literary dissection of the divide between the United States and Mexico.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “This terror-laden story will remind readers of Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway.” —Library Journal (starred review) “Vaillant’s timely first novel captures both the straitened circumstances of hardworking campesinos and the humanity and raw desperation of a man slowly giving in to hopelessness.” —Booklist“A dramatic, tense novel . . . the importance of its themes, which closely mirror life, cannot be doubted.” —Publishers Weekly “Like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, John Vaillant’s The Jaguar’s Children will be read for a long time to come. It is a major social novel.” —Philipp Meyer, author of The Son and American Rust“I have long admired the visceral storytelling and moral complexity of John Vaillant’s brilliant non-fiction about humankind’s tragically ambivalent relationship with the natural world. Now he brings his abundant literary gifts to a debut novel set in a very real borderland in which human beings are themselves treated like animals. The Jaguar’s Children is a beautifully rendered lament for an imperiled culture and the brave lives that would preserve it. You should read it.” —John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road and The Commoner “John Vaillant is in the business of writing masterpieces. But this first novel will make his many followers fall over in shock. Vaillant sees the tragedy of human predation on the border for what it is—a real-world horror worthy of Stephen King. This book rushes at you relentless as a nightmare and doesn’t let up until it kicks out the walls. Settle in. You’re going to need a stiff drink. Make it ice water.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and Into the Beautiful North “In The Jaguar’s Children we enter the dangerous borderlands between countries and generations; myth and magic; human community and the vast, infinitely mysterious, wild environment. Here, John Vaillant proves that his heart and imagination are as expansive and fierce as his radiant intellect. Never have I encountered a writer with more energy or compassion.” —Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Hearts, The Voice of the River, Girls in the Grass“The Jaguar’s Children is devastating. It’s at once a literary mystery, an engrossing tour de force, and a brilliant commentary on humanity’s role in the physical world. The voice that echoes out from that abandoned place Vaillant so masterfully creates won’t leave me.” —Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda“The novel had me from the first page. The premise is gripping, Vaillant’s language has the clear, inarguable ring of a knuckle knocking against a steel drum, and the storytelling is rich and lyrical. It is a brave work.” —Peter Heller, bestselling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter