The Iguana Treeby Michel Stone
Release date: 2012 (paperback) / 224 pages
Synopsis(from Amazon): Set amid the perils of illegal border crossings, The Iguana Tree is the suspenseful saga of Lilia and Hector, who separately make their way from Mexico into the United States, seeking work in the Carolinas and a home for their infant daughter.
Review: When I lived in Minnesota, the concept of “immigration” was abstract. Of course I had opinions about this topic, but living in a northern state that only borders Canada (whose residents do not seem desperate to enter the U.S.), I really did not give much thought to this. However, living in Colorado fleshes out the “idea” of immigration — the state’s diversity is composed of Hispanic individuals and I now know about “sanctuary cities” since I live only a few miles from three. My book club has recently chosen Just Like Us — a nonfiction work about four high school girls whose parents are all undocumented, but two of the girls were born in the U.S. while the other two were not.
So, I am currently fascinated by this topic and the arrival of The Iguana Tree was serendipitous in many ways. This story focuses on a Mexican couple who decide to start a new life in the U.S. The couple are forced to cross the border separately and Stone masterfully alternates between their perspectives and experiences each chapter. Each journey is expectedly harrowing and the losses are immeasurable.
The Iguana Tree would be an excellent choice for book clubs. At just over 200 pages, it is a very fast read — especially since the suspense makes this novel nearly impossible to put down. In addition, the voices of each character are authentic and well-crafted — learning about immigration through the voices of actual, albeit fictional, immigrants encourages compassion toward a topic that can so often become dehumanizing and polarizing. I guarantee that the discussion sparked by this novel will require no discussion questions.
Interested in winning a free copy and seeing for yourself? Drop me a comment and I’ll choose a winner soon!
Monday, April 2nd: Luxury Reading