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

Paperback | September 15, 2015

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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:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.71 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307397173

ISBN - 13:9780307397171

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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

Praise for The Jaguar's Children:NATIONAL BESTSELLER "The novel unfurls at the pace of a geopolitical thriller, with the gravitas of allegory.... Vaillant's prose sears as he alights on NAFTA, civil and government corruption, and the tensions between past and present affecting Mexico's citizens." --National Post"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"Vaillant's use of fact to inspire fiction brings to mind a long list of powerful novels from the past decade or so: What Is the What, by Dave Eggers; The Map of Love, by Ahdaf Soueif; The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult.... In a world of relentless content and thin (if bright) attractions, what could be more important than carving out an hour or three and opening yourself to the voice of another, to the possibility that a novel will transform you?" --The New York Times Book Review