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.
Michel Stone's debut novel The Iguana Tree, which Kirkus Reviews says "recalls the work of John Steinbeck," received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and an IPPY Award as one of the top novels published in 2012 by an independent press. Stone has published numerous stories and essays, and she is a 2011 recipient of the South Carolina Fiction Award. She is a graduate of Clemson University with a Master's Degree from Converse College, and she is an alumna of the Sewanee Writers Conference. Raised on Johns Island on the South Carolina coast, Michel now lives in Spartanburg, S.C. She is at work on her second novel.
All incoming Clemson freshmen are required to participate in the Summer Reading Program as part of their CU 1000 Course Requirements. Students will receive a complimentary copy of THE IGUANA TREE when they come to Summer Orientation. On August 19, 2013, Michel Stone will address the entire freshman class at 1 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum. Immediately following Ms. Stone’s address, students will discuss their thoughts and reactions in small groups across campus, led by Clemson faculty and staff.
Anyone with questions about the Freshman Summer Reading program should contact Amber Mulkey at email@example.com.