What is factual vs. fiction in the novel Broken Windows?:
- The basic premise around which the story revolves is real: The novel is a mystery-thriller set in 1994 around the immigration issue. And the whole uproar around California’s notorious Proposition 187 is real. That was a proposition in California which would have blocked illegal aliens from public education, non-emergency health care and other services in the state. And, as we can see from the news every day those issues are still with us. Duke, the main character, and Jack, his partner, show both sides of the issue as they work on the case of a murdered undocumented day worker. In the process they come up against church, state (political representatives) and business, all of whom have vested interests in seeing immigration continue unabated. And all of which is based in reality. And all of which gives us a prism through which to assess what’s happening today on the same issue.
- At the head of the novel, a young woman – Susan Karubian – jumps to her death from the Hollywood Sign. Susan is loosely based on Peg Entwistle. Peg Entwistle came to Hollywood in 1932 to fulfill her dreams of becoming a star. When that didn’t happen she became the only known person to have jumped to her death from the Hollywood Sign….until the fictional Susan Karubian in Broken Windows. But Susan has more reasons than simply not fulfilling dreams of stardom for her jump into infamy in 1994, when the novel takes place.
- Duke and Jack head to Smuggler’s Gulch, near San Diego, for a meeting with a coyote (someone who smuggles people over the border). Smuggler’s Gulch is a real place and was where many “illegals” crossed the border in the 1990s.
- Through the course of the novel, Duke and Jack tackle Church, state, business – all of whom have reasons for their attitudes toward immigration and none of them come off looking good. And all of which, to this day, have vested interests in this issue.
- Like the main character, Duke, I could probably swim before I could walk 🙂 .