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The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle
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The Tortilla Curtain (1995)

by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,980831,917 (3.76)112
  1. 10
    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  2. 21
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  3. 10
    The Harvest Gypsies by John Steinbeck (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: These are articles Steinbeck wrote about how California has used immigrant labor in it's history. Nothing like The Tortilla Curtain, but it is interesting background and will give you something to think about.
  4. 10
    Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America's Illegal Aliens by Ted Conover (Mrs.Stansbury)
    Mrs.Stansbury: If you would like to read a nonfiction account of illegal immigration try "Coyotes" by Ted Conover. Both Conover and Boyle attempt to be unbiased in their writing and open eyes to all sides of the issues associated with illegal immigration.
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» See also 112 mentions

English (78)  German (5)  All (83)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Boyle is all about the clash of cultures and subcultures, and this one is among the best of his portrayals. (His other preoccupations are with a) man's relation to nature, and b) famous bizarre Americans. ( )
  nog | Oct 10, 2016 |
This may be the best book I've read this year. It made me angry. It made me cry. It made me shake my head in frustration. The characters are over the top and exaggerated, which makes the message of the novel even more direct. I recommend it to everyone who cares about how human beings treat each other. ( )
2 vote kathleen.heady | Oct 2, 2016 |
Lynn read also very depressing story of illegal Mexicans in LA

Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. From the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.
  christinejoseph | Jun 23, 2016 |
Most of the characters, no I think all of them, are sharply drawn caricatures of either hypocritical wealthy redneck pseudo-liberals living in a gated California enclave, or poor hapless powerless victimised illegal Mexicans (how many adjectives can one sentence hold before it explodes?). Toss in some menacing rich white bully teens, mix with evil Mexican canyon denizens, add in a few natural-and/or-manmade disasters occurring at always exactly the wrong moment, and there's your story.
These characters are, for the most part, intensely unlikeable. The few likeable characters are irritating because you keep thinking, "Move on! Move away!". But they aren't listening to the voices in my head.
The characters were stereotypes, and it felt like Boyle was flicking switches calculated to trigger specific emotional responses. 'ok, moral outrage here, sentimental sympathy in 3,2,1, now!'
But it sure does get you thinking about the plight of Mexican illegals, and the limitless cruelties so easily perpetrated by so many, without guilt or self-awareness.

( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
In The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle the lives of Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher are juxtaposed with those of Cándido and América Rincón. Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, a nature writer and real estate agent, are living the American dream ensconced in a hilltop community above Topanga Canyon. Cándido and América Rincón are illegal immigrants from Mexico who are barely scraping out an existence while living/camping in the canyon. At the beginning of the novel Cándido is accidentally hit and injured when he crosses the busy canyon road in front of Delaney's car. After this point the story switches back and forth between the two couples, following their starkly contrasting lives as they all search for their version of the American dream.
The theme of sovereignty is explored and by the prevalence of the various walls, gates, fences. The Tortilla Curtain does not take a "side." It firmly encourages understanding both sides of an issue by looking at the circumstances, dreams, fears, and thoughts of all the characters. Boyle tackles our social consciousness in relationship to illegal immigrants, but along the way he also highlights other issues, including environmental causes, urban sprawl, introduced species, materialism, crime, and unemployment, to name a few. The Tortilla Curtain could actually be considered a very tragic novel, but for the added elements of comedy and satire.

From what I've read, Boyle never intended The Tortilla Curtain to be a treatise on illegal immigration. Above all, even though it handles some very weighty, heated issues that continue to be relevant even years after its publication, this is a fictional novel. I appreciated Boyle's masterful writing and his carefully crafted characters.

Very Highly Recommended - but it can also be considered controversial.
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boyle, T. Coraghessanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Commandeur, SjaakTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grüneis, RobertForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Häupl, MichaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richter, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenblat, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They ain't human. A human being wouldn't live like they do. A human being couldn't stand it to be so dirty and miserable. — John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
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Afterward, he tried to reduce it to abstract terms, an accident in a world of accidents, the collision of opposing forces - the bumper of his car and the frail scrambling hunched-over form of a dark little man with a wild look in his eye - but he wasn't very successful.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014023828X, Paperback)

Winner of the Prix Medicis Etranger

Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The lives of two different couples-wealthy Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, and Candido and America Rincon, a pair of Mexican illegals--suddenly collide, in astory that unfolds from the shifting viewpoints of the various characters.

» see all 9 descriptions

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