The Wall by David Pereda is a resonant tale that intelligently explores the theme of migration and what characters go through to get across the borders into the US in the quest for safer, greener spaces for their families to evolve. Thomas Bertram lives with his fiancée, Cecilia, in El Salvador where they run a bar in their neighborhood, and Thomas wants to settle down with Cecilia definitively in the US. Across the street live Domingo and his wife, Bianca, owners of a repair shop. Domingo wants to migrate to the US in order to offer better opportunities for his daughter, Nancy. The lives of these characters are upended when members of a gang invade the neighborhood demanding money and threatening them with death. They decide to flee, heading for the US, and the path they travel is strewn with dangers, challenges, and threats to their lives. Can they make it to their dreams in the US?
The opening of this fascinating tale immediately grips the reader as it introduces a tense confrontation between Thomas and Cecilia on the one hand and gang members on the other hand. Immediately readers understand that Cecilia enjoys living her life in El Salvador, and running her restaurant, but the dramatic moment in which everything changes sets the characters on a painful journey. The author writes scenes that are focused, exploring, and capturing emotions — subtle as they are — with unwonted clarity while allowing the humanity of the characters to shine through the dazzling prose. The themes are resonant, from love and family to migration. The international setting is stunningly imagined and brilliantly drawn. The Wall is a powerful tale of resilience and the struggle to survive against impossible odds, pulled towards a new world by long-held dreams. You’ll feel these characters; you’ll want them to succeed; but most importantly, you’ll ache for them.