Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds: John Vaillant's First Novel
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.


Praise for the book: 
“A terrifying border tale…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. Border fiction has a new top-shelf title.” ~Outside

"Vaillant writes with power and emotion, affection and respect for the Zapotec people and lands...An eloquent literary dissection of the divide between the United States and Mexico." ~Kirkus
"Vaillant, whose international best sellers include The Golden Spruce (a Governor General’s Award winner) and The Tiger, a memorably burning-bright book, turns to fiction with results that are 'riveting.'" ~Library Journal

"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

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