When a language dies, a vision of the world is lost. A language is like an invisible and precious monument; a beautiful example of human cooperation that takes thousands of years to evolve and that exists only thanks to the will of the human being to communicate ideas and emotions.
Unfortunately, neither Evaristo nor Isauro, both 65, give a shit about this. The last two speakers of Zoque, an indigenous language spoken in Mexico for the last 4,000 years, they used to be best friends, but not anymore. They've just had a terrible fight that has threatened to end their friendship and effectively kill the language.
The entire small village of Ayapan witnessed the quarrel, without being able to understand it. The old men were screaming at each other in the complete privacy of their own language. The villagers only caught a fragment of what Isauro yelled to Evaristo:
"U María ñañyu qu upujho, u pí jí! Laioke gigik yeñhive!"
Every villager has his own version of the subject of the quarrel: some say it is about land division, other say it is about a pig; still others say it is about the love of Maria, the dead wife of Evaristo.
The two men refuse to tell anybody why they fought. But when Evaristo's 16-year-old grandson Santiago sees his stubborn grandpa cry for the first time in his life, he is determined to find out the truth and help mend the rift. Santiago is convinced that he is the only one who can help reunite the two old friends. He's willing to do whatever it takes, including contacting a Dutch linguist on the other side of the ocean.
As the story unfolds, mysteries emerge and answers come to light. We untangle the threads to reveal the cause of the bitter feud, and uncover hidden truths about these men and their complicated relationships. Most importantly, the ultimate question is answered: will the heart of Zoque ever beat again?
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