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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

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The coyote is not to blame--he is only trying to survive."
Focusing on the problem of illegal immigration in California and the social upheaval that has accompanied it, T. C. Boyle tells two parallel, but interconnected, stories--one, the story of a liberal, yuppie writer, Delaney Mossbacher and his high-performing realtor wife, who live in Topanga Canyon's exclusive Arroyo Blanco Estates, and the other, the story of Candido...
Published on 17 Oct 2005 by Mary Whipple


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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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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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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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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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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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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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The coyote is not to blame--he is only trying to survive.", 17 Oct 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Tortilla Curtain (Hardcover)
Focusing on the problem of illegal immigration in California and the social upheaval that has accompanied it, T. C. Boyle tells two parallel, but interconnected, stories--one, the story of a liberal, yuppie writer, Delaney Mossbacher and his high-performing realtor wife, who live in Topanga Canyon's exclusive Arroyo Blanco Estates, and the other, the story of Candido Rincun, a forty-ish illegal immigrant from Mexico and his teenage bride America, trying to stay alive at a primitive camp they have made in the canyon.
Delaney writes a column on the environment, believes in recyling and fitness, lives on vitamins and tofu kabobs, and opposes his community association's desire to put up a gate to keep out "strangers." His life literally collides with that of the Rincuns, however, when he hits and injures Candido, who is walking along the road, ending Candido's chances to get work in construction or in the fields. Paying him twenty dollars, he hopes he will be able to avoid dealing with this intrusion into his "safe" life. Candido and the pregnant America will have to subsist for days on the groceries his twenty dollars have bought.
Candido, like the legendary Candide, is full of hopes, and while he does not believe that this is the best of all possible worlds, he does believe that he has a better chance of achieving his dreams in the U.S. than in Mexico. America, however, sees the reality of their existence--she is pregnant, forced to live like an animal, and worried that they will never have an apartment of their own. As the lives of the Mossbachers and the Rincuns continue to intersect, Delaney becomes increasingly self-protective and fearful, and events finally escalate into a dramatic confrontation.
Though Boyle satirizes the Mossbachers' lifestyle and their phony liberalism, he is sympathetic to that of the Rincuns, painting them as honest people with no resources. His characters are shallow, however, developed to illustrate his message about illegal immigrants, and not characters who come to life on their own. The light, humorous touch that can give power to satire and its moral messages is absent here, and though the story is often exciting, it lacks subtlety in its moralizing. A wild coyote, which attacks pets in the Mossbachers' now-gated community, appears several times as an obvious symbol. Though some dark humor evolves near the end, as the Rincuns try to stay alive in the canyon, the novel, overall, feels heavy handed, lacking constructive resolutions. Mary Whipple
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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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