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3.8 out of 5 stars39
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 19 August 2012
This is one of he most gripping books I have ever read.
It makes you think about social issues and human migration at a very personal level, and for me is up there alongside The Grapes of Wrath.
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on 4 February 2000
Current issues for me living in the UK, dealt with care and great clarity. Main issues racism and prejudice, are handled with great understanding on both sides. While it is a novel with a 'message' it is still a real page turner. What stood out for me was the fact that perhaps we all were immigrants at one time or another
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2008
This is the second TC Boyle novel I've read and he's fast becoming one of my favourite US authors. He sets up the characters so well, you really care what happens to them right from the start, and that for me is the mark of a good book. Delaney Mossbacher lives a comfortable life in an exclusive housing complex in southern California. He's a nature lover and a political liberal. But his view of the world is challenged by a series of events, beginning with him running down Candido Rincon, an illegal Mexican immigrant living rough in a nearby canyon. As Delaney's neighbours come up with new ways to keep the immigrants at bay, Candido and his pregnant girlfriend are desperately struggling for survival, doggedly determined to overcome the many setbacks they encounter. As well as being a great story, this a thought-provoking book with many messages - not least that however rich we are, nothing can protect us from the destructive forces of nature, and we cocoon ourselves from the natural world at our peril.
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on 30 May 2015
A quirky novel which I enjoyed. Good to read a book which covers different perspectives.
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on 6 January 2016
A good story but depressing and an unsatisfactory ending
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on 17 May 2011
Good , but having read Riven Rock and The Inner Circle I expected this to be as clever a book and in that respect it failed . I didn't have a great deal of sympathy for the main characters inspite of the Mexicans plight..... oh , I don't know . I had been on a roll of reading T.C Boyle but now I've stopped. A good book ... but!
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on 16 July 2004
After reading 'Budding Prospects', and some of his short story collections, I had decided that TC Boyle was a writer worth spending some time over. I chose 'Tortilla Curtain' as my next excursion.

But right from the off, something didn't quite gel with this story. Paralelled lives in the same plot can be an interesting device if the subjects are diverse in an interesting way. Unfortunately, Boyle has chosen archetypes in the form of the 'West Coast Liberal' and the 'Mexcican Illegal' for this story.

Mossbacher, the liberal, sounds the right notes with his hollow shell of concern for humanity. His feelings, fears and prejudices are all on the mark - perhaps too much so for his character lapses, at times, almost, into caricature.

My problem with Rincon, the illegal, is this - just how much misfortune can credibly befall one man? Without giving anything away, he lurches from crisis to crisis - always heading down - with no redemption in sight. I do not doubt that Boyle has created a believable character but the situations the character is then placed on are straining the credulity.

Still, this is a good read that holds the attention. My concern would be, however, that some may think that Anglo-Mexican relations in the LA Basin are really 'like that'. As one who lived in LA for 5 years in the 80's/90's I would have to say they were not.
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VINE VOICEon 21 February 2005
For the life of me I can't remember what possessed me to buy the Tortilla Curtain. But I recently read a newspaper article indicating that the inevitable film adaptation, starring Kevin Costner and Meg Ryan, is on its way.
So I dug out my copy of Boyle's novel and reminded myself why I found it so unengaging. Maybe it's because I have no experience of the border issues that Rincon and his contemporaries had to endure. Maybe it's because the sort of 'condo' that is also featured, is relatively uncommon in the UK.
That said, much of the book had stayed with me in the intervening years. Boyle's prose is well crafted and brings to life a country and landscape of which I have no knowledge.
Sadly, though, exactly that lack of knowledge was always going to make this novel difficult for me to empathise with. Ultimately, I didn't care about Rincon's fate and definitely couldn't give two hoots about Mossbacher, in spite of his liberal tendencies. Maybe the film will work better...
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on 9 April 2016
thought it was well written.
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on 11 December 2009
side by side the affluent Californian society and the world of illegal immegrants, both likeable
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