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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you a Have or Have-not?
This is such a wonderful read. Rich, insular American Dream coexists with desparate Mexican poverty. Comparisons with Steinbeck are inevitable but Mr Boyle can be proud of writing what I feel will be regarded as a classic to stand alone. A marvellous mix of characters interwoven with themes which challenge ideas and perceptions of race, class, wealth and consciensce...
Published on 22 Oct 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
This is an excellent book, but the content is disturbing and shows how the 'haves' hold tight to what they own and the 'have nots' get less and less. A recommended read for anyone who thinks illegal immigrants have a grand time!
Published 7 months ago by Sheila B


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you a Have or Have-not?, 22 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Tortilla Curtain (Poster)
This is such a wonderful read. Rich, insular American Dream coexists with desparate Mexican poverty. Comparisons with Steinbeck are inevitable but Mr Boyle can be proud of writing what I feel will be regarded as a classic to stand alone. A marvellous mix of characters interwoven with themes which challenge ideas and perceptions of race, class, wealth and consciensce.
Read this. You won't forget it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satirical novel which devastatingly contrasts the lives of a wealthy white Los Angeles Couple and an illegal Mexican couple, 4 July 2010
By 
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
A deeply rewarding read about a wealthy white middle class couple, Delaney and Kyla, (her 6 yo son, "her matching Dandy Dinmont terriers, Osbert and Sacheverell, and her Siamese cat, Dame Edith") and an illegal immigrant Mexican couple whose lives collide in a series of unforgettable incidents. Kyla the main bread winner in the Mossbacher household is a real estate agent whose observations and personal habits are delightfully evoked by Boyle creating a wonderfully vile character. Candido and América's hauntingly down trodden lives and experiences are vividly portrayed as they encounter a series of humiliating and devastating events. One reviewer describes this book as a depressing read which it would be for those whose aspirations are to replicate the lifestyle of Kyla living in an upmarket residential estate in the foothills of Los Angeles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the tortilla curtain, 16 May 2011
By 
J. Rousen (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
i purchased this book,and i just couldn't put it down,and tell my friends that theres a good book coming there way,i just wanted to jump in the book and right all the wrongs,it trulywas one of my favourite book iv'e read for a while i highly recommend.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written And Very Impressionable, 14 Aug 2002
By 
Heather Negahdar ""Haze"" (Bridgetown, Barbados) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
This is the first for me, reading a book by T. Coraghessan Boyle, and I was very impressed by his work.
This book is set in Los Angeles and focuses strongly on two couples from totally different social and economical backgrounds. Kyra and Delaney Mossbacher are the upper class Americans; while Candido and America Rincon are illegal immigrants from South of the border.....Mexico.
The Tortilla Curtain is the border between Mexico and Los Angeles which the immigrants cross illegally to find work as labourers and a better way of life in that state.
The Mexicans endure severe hardships for little money as they enter this country of the 'well to do'. Meanwhile the 'upper crust' are flourishing for all to see, their main problem being to keep the immigrants out. As much as they are rich and better off one begins to feel that the immigrant Mexican has a more contented heart. They seem fulfilled at times with a deep satisfaction, passion and feeling that the 'upper crust' are unable to project. They are poor.....but their spirits are strong and hard to break.
See what life becomes for these two couples from opposite sides of the track....and you will find these characters living in your memories for a long time. This is the type of book that one hates to finish. Get it for Christmas....I got mine. Well written and highly recommended!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel, 26 Dec 2012
By 
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I have just finished reading this for the second time. I had never read anything buy Boyle before and I love his writing style - extremely accomplished and yet easy to read. I could not put this book down. The horrendous conditions of the Mexicans living condition and the rich lifestyle of the Americans provides a fascinating contrast and the last chapter is is riveting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 12 Feb 2012
I had read and loved Drop City and was not disappointed by my second T C Boyle choice. The story is a real page-turner and the characters wonderfully developed. Boyle cleverly draws the reader's sympathies to each different perspective and weaves the stories together with huge skill, using such a vast range of unusual vocabulary. Well worth reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 29 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
Read this for the BBC Bookclub July 2003, and not a book I knew of, or would have considered otherwise. I could not put it down!! A super read, giving two contrasting points-of-view.
Candido and America, the homeless, workless Mexican immigrants living in destitution in the canyon, are contrasted with Delaney and his family, the Americans living in luxury but with a fortress mentality, above the canyon.
Not an issue I had thought about, but so relevant even in Britain with the perceived threat from 'asylum-seekers' and 'illegal immigrants', and how all societies react to outsiders.
I felt for the Mexicans as the underdogs, but also for the Americans as their way of life is threatened.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damning verdict on the social divide in California, 15 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
Boyle creates a character in Delaney who sounds very much like himself - a liberal from New York moved to a suburb of Los Angeles. Delaney is a nature writer, and at times the descriptions become a bit too much, but they are always well written and usually captivating.
If you care, read it and see how your views can be changed by others or by circumstance. If you don't, read it for an insight into the plight of those who travel from Mexico in search of a better life.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An uncomfortable subject tackled with realism and houmour, 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
This is the first T.C.Boyle book I have read - I have now ordered "Water Music" and "Riven Rock". Boyle is a natural story teller - I finished the book in two evenings. Candido and Delayney are well drawn (not "cardboard cut-outs as claimed in areview) and sympathetic characters. I was wondering if "Candido" was named after Voltaire's "Candide" - as every misfortune seems to befall him, yet he still retains his faith in God. Also his wife America - is her name symbolic? (The German translation is entitled "America"). The book does not hold back its punches - many events are cruel and there is no relief from the contrast between the comfortable and materialistic "gringos" and the poor, doomed Mexicans ("wetbacks") in search of a future. One US reader sees the ending as "unfinished" or a "cop out" - but I see it more as a symbolic statement of "we are all in this world together". The influence of Evelyn Waugh is certainly there but, whereas Waugh's cruelty would indicate a bitter and misanthropic character in the author, Boyle's humour seems to derive from a well intended but "I see the world as it really is" disposition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking, excellent read, 17 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
This is a superb novel. It interweaves the stories of wealthy Americans living in California and of the illegal Mexican immigrants trying to exist invisibly among them. The main characters are Delaney, a liberal nature-lover who develops fear and loathing of the Mexicans, and Cándido and his wife América, whose paths cross Delaney’s. Boyle contrasts the extreme poverty and desperation of the immigrants with the comfortable lives of the Americans but succeeds in eliciting empathy for both. He also draws interesting parallels between the wild predators, such as coyotes, and the illegal immigrants, both of which breach the increasingly prison-like defences of the Californians' homes.

The themes of inequity, injustice and fear of the unfamiliar elevate this to a universal parable that stayed with me after I finished the book. I shall look out for more of Boyle's novels.
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The Tortilla Curtain (Bloomsbury Classic Reads)
The Tortilla Curtain (Bloomsbury Classic Reads) by T. C Boyle (Paperback - 5 July 2004)
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