- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (16 May 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747525722
- ISBN-13: 978-0747525721
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Tortilla Curtain Paperback – 16 May 1996
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-A compelling story of myopic misunderstanding and mutual tragedy.-
-Succeeds in stealing the front page news and bringing it home to the great American tradition of the social novel . . . A book to appreciate as we peer at the faces of strangers outside our windows, and wall ourselves in.-
--The Boston Globe
-Lays on the line of our national cult of hypocrisy. Comically and painfully he details the smug wastefulness of the haves and the vile misery of the have-nots.-
--Barbara Kingsolver, The Nation
"A compelling story of myopic misunderstanding and mutual tragedy."
--The Boston Globe "Lays on the line of our national cult of hypocrisy. Comically and painfully he details the smug wastefulness of the haves and the vile misery of the have-nots."
--Barbara Kingsolver, The Nation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
A classic novel by America's foremost novelist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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!!
Essentially it tells the story of 2 couples - 1 middle class, successful and white American. The other dirt poor, homeless Mexican illegal immigrants. The 2 couples live only minutes away from one another and their paths cross on several occasions throughout the book to allow for their contrasting lives to raise questions of humanity, justice, poverty and immigration.
I felt that towards the end of the book some of the 'misfortunes' that happen, espeically to the Mexican couple are too depressing and dramatic to actually be real. Plus but that stage I really needed a glimmer of hope to keep going.
It's an interesting book, but be prepared for an uncomfortable and upsetting read!
The ending tries to build to some kind of biblical catharsis, but ends up falling flat and left me bemused and nonplussed.
Read this. You won't forget it.
At the same time, he manages to make their suffering funny and the reader ends up laughing at the plight of some unfortunate fellow human being in dire straits.
This was is the case with Mungo Park, the young 18th century Scottish explorer held prisoner by the Moors in the Sahara desert in “Water Music” and the young Japanese sailor stranded in the swamps of Georgia in “East is East”.
The unfortunate in “The Tortilla Curtain” is an illegal Mexican immigrant living rough with his pregnant wife in the scrubland around Los Angeles.
The ordeals he goes through to try and make a new life in the United States are never ending and are matched by an American character who, through a series of misunderstandings and coincidences, becomes almost deranged and ends up hating the Mexican - with disastrous results.
Boyle quotes from “The Grapes of Wrath” in a foreword but whereas Steinbeck treats the issue of poor outsiders trying to create a new life in California in almost a documentary way, Boyle makes it horrible and funny at the same time.
Some readers might feel he goes over the top – and he does stretch the story at times – but it is a great read by a writer I feel is underrated.
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