The Toe Bone and The Tooth: An ancient Mayan story relived in modern times: leaving home to come home

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9780007142675: The Toe Bone and The Tooth: An ancient Mayan story relived in modern times: leaving home to come home

The eagerly awaited follow-up to Martín Prechtel's much-loved Secrets of the Talking Jaguar and Long Life, Honey in the Heart.

The Toe Bone and the Tooth is structured around a previously unpublished mythic Mayan tale of the same name, gifted to Martín by one of the elders of the village in return for helping his son. This ancient tale from the tribal oral tradition forms the backdrop to Martín's own untold story – how he, his Indian wife and two little sons experienced a chilling escape from Guatemalan death squads in the mid-1980s, and how he has continued to live out the myth in the alien context of modern life in the US.

In a unique use of time sequencing, beautiful storytelling, irony, mystery, tragedy, magic and human warmth, Martín shows how this powerful mythic story can be a pattern for everyone's life. Written with characteristic brilliance, warmth and wit, Prechtel demonstrates how his initiation as a Mayan shaman and understanding of their mythology has ensured his survival in the modern world.

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Review:

Endorsements:

Praise for Secrets of the Talking Jaguar:
"It's a precious thing, this book. I've never known another like it… it is a treasure house of language, in service to life." —Robert Bly, author of Iron John

"The Mayan Gods, who hold eloquence above all else, must surely be pleased with this soul, who in this lifetime is named Martín Prechtel." —Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., author of Women Who Run With Wolves

From the Back Cover:

'The Toe Bone and the Tooth' is a literary masterpiece in honour of oral native storytelling and the indigenous heart of every person. Though easily read as a logical third in sequence with Martin Prechtel's other two legendary books, 'Secrets of the Talking Jaguar' and 'Long Life, Honey in the Heart', it also stands on its own as a classic work of beauty and adventure.

'Gaspar Culan the younger did not believe the Sun was a God…neither was the earth a sky for another world beneath, nor was it alive at all…' Thus begins the beautifully narrated, romantic epic of Martin Prechtel's search for the 'deer-like look in a woman's eye' and his dramatic getaway with his family against impossible odds during his last years in war-torn Guatemala.

A story within a story within a story – the apex in Prechtel's autobiographical trilogy – 'The Toe Bone and the Tooth' is an epic adventure that begins in the 19th century Guatemalan highlands and ends in the semi-arid foothills of the Sangre de Cristos mountains of New Mexico. In between lay tribal memory, the smell of mule caravans, the fury of the Gods, man-eating birds, bare-footed land moguls, forbidden roses, religious trials and unhappy love affairs, bullets and crenelated palaces, polyester and high heels, guerrillas and suburbs, international arms sales, the hope and losses of the diasporas, the amnesia of modernity, and Holy Remembrance forced to survive homeless under bridges.

As a political exile within the borders of Guatemala, then as a spiritual and cultural exile within the confines of the United States, Prechtel tells a tale of irony and beauty where chaos, terror, love, magic, and the unexpected live side by side as fingers on the same hand that curl around a cup holding the wine of one man's life.

Rooted in an ancient mythology passed ritual on to him by a magical generation of Tzutujil Maya now gone, Prechtel reminds us that these kinds of stories, if forgotten, will still be lived out in our daily lives but can help us live when they are consciously remembered.

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