Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone

Synopsis from the Publisher: Michel Stone’s debut novel, set against the backdrop of illegal immigration, is one family’s story of fateful decisions, risky border crossings, and a struggle for humanity. With a dream of a more prosperous life for his family, Héctor crosses into America on a harrowing journey in a welded-shut metal compartment under a delivery truck, making his way to job on a tree farm on Edisto Island, SC. He tells Lilia, his young wife, to stay behind with her newborn until he can pay for her travel. Impulsive and impatient, Lilia abandons her village, hands off her baby to a smuggler who should not have been trusted, and swims the dark Rio Grande. The tragedy unfolds across the southern United States. As Michel Stone weaves her tale of hope and human dignity, of sorrow and suffering, we see not only the devastating consequences of Lilia’s and Héctor’s decisions, but the consequences of decisions we have made as a society and as a nation. With its themes of loss, betrayal, and redemption, The Iguana Tree has the resonance of myth.

When TLC approached me with The Iguana Tree, by Michel Stone, I took a few minutes to think about it. The synopsis is certainly convincing, but this book is squarely outside of my usual reading choices. The perils of U.S. border crossing is not a topic I thought I'd be keen to read, even though it's a huge issue in my state of Texas. Ultimately I chose to accept the book for exactly these reasons...that it is outside my usual choices, and I wanted to push myself. 

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that I've not yet finished the book (about halfway through). It is NOT the fault of Michel Stone or her gripping writing. It's a problem that's a little embarrassing -- the type is really small! I kid y'all not, I opened it, started reading the beautifully crafted prose, and my eyes crossed. 

I blame this new development on a couple of things:
1. I never go to the eye doctor as I should. I haven't needed to wear glasses since I was 11 years old, BUT...
2. A job on computers all day and night has made my eyes much more tired lately and prone to strain.
3. I'm spoiled to Nook books where I can make the type larger. This issue never even crossed my mind as a possibility.

For these reasons, I've been taking it slow, but I am thoroughly enjoying the book. Lilia and Hector's plight grabbed me right off the bat, and Stone's deft hand at describing the atmosphere and landscape helped me become quickly invested in the story. While it is harsh at times, harrowing indeed, the writing adds a glaze of beauty over the whole thing. While the stories are nothing alike, it reminds me a little bit of how I felt read The Hours. A heavy story but beautiful nonetheless. 

Win a Copy!
That said, I have some goodies in store! One lucky reader will win a copy of The Iguana Tree. All you have to do is leave a comment. 

My thanks to Hub City Press for providing a giveaway book. I also need to put in a plug for this delightful publisher. When I received the book it was wonderfully packaged with some goodies and extras like a great bookmark. The book itself is also a beautiful edition. It's hefty, sturdily made, and the paper is good quality. I blame my eyes on the slow reading, completely.

See the book trailer below. :)


15 comments:

  1. Stick with it - you're in for a treat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love to read this story, my magnifying glass is ready!! I think the story has to be worth it, but I will look for a way to magnify!!



    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot0com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally worth it, Carol! I would not be magnifying if it wasn't. lol

      Delete
  3. I would love to read this.... especially since you gave it such a nice write-up... Living in TX as well and as an immigrant, I would really enjoy this, I think. Another similar but diff read would be The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle. Good read.

    liz in texas. (Further contact info forthcoming should I win.)

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Liz! I have The Tortilla Curtain on my TBR, as a matter of fact. I'm glad you mentioned it! Good luck!

      Delete
  4. I do hope that you get the chance to finish this one, as it is an incredible story that filled me with hope, but also horror. I can relate to small type issues. It can sometimes be a problem for me too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I most certainly will. I've never experienced the small type issue, but these days I spend my whole day on the computer and don't even have a chance to start reading before 8pm. Those factors combined are killin' my eyes. But Barnes and Noble is making a killing since I've been downloading more Nook books for the various type sizes!

      Delete
  5. This certainly sounds interesting. I read a bit about border crossings in The Bakers Daughter and I found it very interesting. I'll keep an eye out for it.

    I don't know if your giveaway is international, but if it is enter me: s.murray10@yahoo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oooh! Since I adored "The Tortilla Curtain" this sounds right up my alley. Pick me, pick me... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love books about immigration. Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail COM

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been spoiled by the changeable font size on my Kindle as well. :)

    Glad you're enjoying this one so far! Thanks for being on the tour.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've got this one on my nightstand at the moment, but haven't really noticed the small font issue. Then again, I wear reading glasses! My eyesight hit a wall a few years ago and it was a shock to me when I started having trouble with magazines, restaurant menus, medicine labels, etc. I really thought "they" had started making type smaller- it didn't occur to me at first that my eyesight had changed!

    I hope you'll go on to finish - and enjoy- the book. The reviews overall have been very good. Thanks for being on the tour.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Although I wouldn't usually pick up a book about illegal immigration, I've read several very positive reviews and I'd like to read it.

    I'm not a fan of tiny font either, but I do have reading glasses to take care of that problem.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like the sound of this one and enjoyed the book trailer too. I have the same problem with small print and from being on a computer all day. I have reading glasses now and that seems to help but I still don't like the small print books.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I respond to comments individually by e-mail and/or here on the site. "No reply" bloggers will automatically receive a response here. I value community above all else in blogging, and talking with you all is the highlight of my blogging day!