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The Iguana Tree: A Novel

Michel Stone

Hub City Press
978-1-891885-16-7
$16.00 paperback
5½ x 8½           
220 pages
May 1, 2013

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.

Michel Stone’s harrowing novel meticulously examines the obstacles each faces in pursuing a new life: manipulation, rape, and murder in the perilous commerce of border crossings; betrayal by family and friends; exploitation by corrupt officials and rapacious landowners on the U.S. side; and, finally, the inexorable workings of the U.S. justice system.

Hector and Lilia meet Americans willing to help them with legal assistance and offers of responsible employment, but their illegal entry seems certain to prove their undoing. The consequences of their decisions are devastating. In the end,The Iguana Tree is a universal story of loss, grief, and human dignity.

 

Awards:

Praise:

"...Stone manages to deftly address a serious political and humanitarian issue without seeming heavy-handed. Well-written, expertly paced, and timely." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Stone has done exceptional work in making real the struggles and despair, the resolute discipline and hope, driving the desire to find a better life while also illuminating unexpected connections of near-familial love among people of difference cultures who live and work together. A haunting tale of hope and heartbreak.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Recipient of the 2011 South Carolina Fiction Project Award, Stone successfully conveys her characters' sense of hopelessness, betrayal, and loss and their struggle to preserve their integrity against all odds. This compassionate yet unsentimental story recalls the works of John Steinbeck and should appeal to readers who enjoy his books.” —Library Journal
“…marvelously perceptive and revelatory debut novel … Stone turns a highly politicized subject into a deeply human predicament by homing in with piercing clarity on her characters’ inner struggles to create a hard-to-forget story of the devastation brought about by a simple wish for a better life.” —Booklist
"A story told with tremendous grace... humanity courses through The Iguana Tree." —The Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Small Carolinas presses finding literary gems... The latest: The Iguana Tree the newest novel from Spartanburg’s Hub City Press. " —Charlotte Observer
"The Iguana Tree is poignant, powerful, graceful and witty, beautiful and brave. Like John Steinbeck's The Pearl, this novel is a gem." —Charleston Post and Courier
"Stone's debut novel is an exploration of the human condition... As her characters travel to the rural Carolina coast, they break free of the page, in turn captivating and charming, shocking and frustrating. In the end it's their capacity for hope in the face of despair that carries you to the close of this incredible story." —Charleston Magazine (Editor's Pick)
"A story of not only individuals, The Iguana Tree is an observation of a society and the consequences its decisions and policies create. Heartbreaking, infuriating, brutal and offering no solutions –– Stone’s story begs the response to react." —Southsider Magazine (Lexington, KY)
"A stunning and brave debut... definitely a writer to watch." —The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)
"In the gritty, realistic tradition of Robert Morgan or Bret Lott, The Iguana Tree never shies away from hard truths, and in that, it’s a difficult book to put down ... The overall effect is conversational and intimate, a well-made, balanced story, skillfully told." —TALK Magazine, Ashley Warlick
"A knockout debut... Stone not only crafts a haunting narrative, but a wholly thought-provoking story..." —TOWN Magazine (Greenville, SC)
“Michel Stone has written a stirring novel of love and courage under the most daunting of conditions. The Iguana Tree is an impressive debut by a very talented author.” —Ron Rash, New York Times best-selling author of Serena and winner of the Frank O’Connor Award
“Stone writes with care and compassion, with close attention to the ambiguities built into U.S. policy toward undocumented workers from south of the border. Her story is powerful, its melancholy truth.” —C. Michael Curtis, senior editor of the Atlantic
“Michel Stone writes with exceptional bravery and grace. She’s an incredible writer. I’m a fan for life.” —Judy Goldman, author of Early Leaving and The Slow Way Back
“Michel Stone’s first novel, The Iguana Tree, is an astonishing achievement, a daring but plausible leap into a world unnoted by most of us yet close around us daily. This story is at once a page-turner and a moving, psychologically genuine drama.” —Rosa Shand, author of The Gravity of Sunlight, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year
"Stone’s characters are so deeply wrought that I could hear their voices. This captivating page-turner is sure to become a classic of literary fiction. "  —Anna Jean Mayhew, Winner of the 2011 Sir Walter Raleigh Prize for Fiction