This “extraordinary” novel of one man’s border crossing reveals “a human history of sorrow and suffering, all of it beginning with the thirst to be free” (NPR).
Héctor 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.
Héctor finds a name in his friend César’s phone: AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message César has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?
Over four days, as water and food run low, Héctor 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, exposing the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Héctor 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 are.
“This is what novels can do—illuminate shadowed lives, enable us to contemplate our own depths of kindness, challenge our beliefs about fate. 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.” —Amanda Eyre Ward, The New York Times Book Review
“[A] heartbreaker . . . Wrenching . . . with a voice fresh and plangent enough to disarm resistance.” —The Boston Globe
“Fearless.” —The Globe and Mail