MOBI T. Coraghessan Boyle × × The Tortilla Curtain Kindle ✓ The Tortilla ePUB

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 Cándido and América Rincón 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 Cándido and Delaney into intimate contact these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding


10 thoughts on “The Tortilla Curtain

  1. says:

    I thought it was chilling the way the author wrote about these do gooder types the real estate agent and wildlife journalist and how they are so careful to exercise regularly swimming running hiking etc live a healthy lifestyle there is a line something like while not true vegetarians they watch their intake of animal fats and be aware of society's ills like the way Kyra speaks out against animal abuse how Delaney speaks out against feeding coyotes and how they both express shock that people could be so unaware; they specifically purchase a free range turkey for Thanksgiving but at the same time the author underscores how wasteful they are with their brand new cars car centric lifestyle expensive house built in wildfire country desires for an even larger house complete disregard for the suffering of the illegals it's like the couple in the book give themselves a lot of brownie points for all these details while missing the big picture That is something of particular concern I think for socially conscious and environmentally minded folks For example a person can get way up on their soapbox about bringing reusable bags to the store while trashing the environment by driving to the store in a gas hog and after getting there filling the bags with all kinds of inessential crap most likely made in China literally as we put the stuff in our shopping bag we can be overheard criticizing the Chinese for being big polluters but the factories doing the polluting are the ones making all the stuff we buy so who is really to blame? It's an awful thing for privileged people to look down our noses at people who have less than us Especially when a lot of the social ineuity in the world is caused by the wasteful practices of the modernized countries The book illustrates the COUNTER ARGUMENT to the belief held by many privileged people that wealth and privilege stem from being STRONGER PEOPLE somehow smarter harder working motivated etc than the people who are poor And therefore many privileged people feel justified in trampling on the rights and needs of poor people Because it illustrates this point so well I think this book is excellent Note I count myself as a privileged person for sure As such I know how easy it is to forget that I personally haven't earned that If I had been born in a different situation I'd have a totally different life This book is very good at reminding us of this Also I really liked the ending No matter how F'ed up the world is no matter how much suffering and betrayal we have endured as individuals it is still possible to find within us a heart of goodness to help others in need That was pretty much what I got out of the final line of the book I found it very uplifting Another thing I found interesting in reading the reviews many people saw the white couple Kyra Delaney as the villains while seeing America Candido as the underdog heroes This was surprising to me I actually thought that both couples were eually sympathetic or unsympathetic I felt that both couples were stereotypes made believable by the human touches that the author added America mustering the courage to go into town when Candido was hurt Kyra's thoughtfulness in getting Delaney the step ladder Delaney putting aside the fight over the wall and kissing Kyra passionately in the grocery store Candido killing household pets in his desperation to keep his family alive Delaney destroying the photos showing who the real graffiti artist was so one of the redeeming ualities I think was the feeling that the author was not taking sides or villainizing one group or the other


  2. says:

    I hated this book Hated hated hated It was slow and really boring at ALL times One of the worst books I have ever picked up


  3. says:

    This is truly no literature for the faint of heart but a great piece of social critic screaming out of each piece of this work Boyle has a uniue writing style by dissecting the problems of trends ages immanent structural problems human behavior etc and showing them in a grim dark way Here lies the problem that many readers might get offended or simply disturbed by the way he describes the mentality of whole nations by transporting their wrong ideals by implanting them into the charactersI guess that many haters simply don´t like the fact that he mirrors their thinking and mentality and that´s the worst one could do with those people because as the old sayings go Haters gonna hate which lead to the wisdom of Don´t feed the troll There will certainly be readers too that just don´t like his writing style but I believe that much of the negative critic and the reason Boyle isn´t as far known as he could and should lie in this dilemmaThis is no fun read it´s a total downer and close to a fictional sociological study and something that definitively stays in mind because the topics it deals with are omnipresent grievances It simply and drastically shows the results of racism and discrimination of unfairly distributed wealth and the horrible manifestations of itA wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books


  4. says:

    its really hard to believe that mr boyle lives anywhere near the USMexico border His portrait of the subject is trite ham fisted and overly simplified In the world of the tortilla curtain being a liberal means that you recycle In the world of the tortilla curtain being hispanic means you are either unbelievably downtrodden and unlucky or you're carrying a knife and willing to use it early in the novel the protagonist hits a hispanic man with his car when he goes to see if the man is ok the hispanic man responds in some wicked foreign tongue and we're treated to a passage along the lines of this man wasnt speaking norwegianno the US doesnt share a three thousand mile border with Norway Nothis man was Mexican and the langue he was speakingSpanish I dont remember the exact passage but its something along those lines I remembered it because it was so laughably horrible Good lordReally this book is just awful It seems to be a favorite of uasi literary middled aged house wife book clubs thoughso whatever read whatever you want


  5. says:

    This is the kind of book that brings me close to tears of frustration and rage An arrogant author white and male taking on huge socio political issues and reducing them to 300 pages of exaggerated trite offensive dribble Another case of the white male fiction writer appopriating the voice of an ethnic minority in his work And yes Boyle writes this with an interjection of the cultural elite of whiteness which for some crazy reason seems to give him access to minority groups their feelings their thoughts their actions their lives For such a deliberate approach to addressing a very sensitive issue I don't see any trace of humanity or compassion or sense of responsibility in Boyle's writing The worst part is that this book continues to be used across the country in high schools and colleges as reading material on immigration reform Another white male author part of a long line of celebrated writers shifting the American perception of minority groups Boyle is lauded as timely and provocative by a white liberal america that is severely removed from reality His characters are at best gross caricatures of the so called reality his novel describes My fear is that young readers will come away with less understanding and critical awareness of class struggle after reading this book in their institutions of higher learning


  6. says:

    This was my first book by TC BoyleI listened to this as an audiobook which was a great way to enjoy this book as you can hear the accents of the illegals America and Candido The story goes back and forth between Candido an illegal Mexican immigrant and his attempt to provide shelter and food for his young pregnant wife He brought her to America with promises of work and a better life only to find a very short supply of jobsThey are living in a ravine outside of Los AngelesMeanwhile atop the mountain in a sheltered money rich area live Delaney and Kyra He is a nature writer and she is an obsessive realtor Their lives connect when Delaney has a car accident and hits Candido and from that moment on their lives and worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a uite tragic taleI will definitely read TC Boyle again He writes with great character development and irony at how Delaney will fight for a coyote's life but not that of an illegal immigrant The opposing lives and encounters keep escalating until the uite tragic endone of my all time favorite books


  7. says:

    This is the book that finally put me off of fiction written for adults Unless you live under a rock with cotton in your ears and a bag over your head you know that life sucks and the human experience is filled with misery and despair When I spend my precious time reading I want to read something well written and inspiring regardless of the contentFor example You can read something about the holocaust and come away feeling amazed and grateful that there are some people in the world capable of doing extraordinary things in times of utter despair Or you can read something that makes you want to blow your brains out and smack the pretentious idiot who wrote it who seems to think that wallowing in the wretchedness of human existence makes him an amazing writer


  8. says:

    I grew up 20 minutes from the Mexican border I knew people like Candido and America good honest hard working folks who only wanted a chance to live and prosper who spent each waking moment dreading the appearance of La Migra TC Boyle has characterized these people beautifully They're not angels and he nailed the bad elements the punks and chucos just as thoroughly as he brought his protagonists to life on the page If people think this book DOESN'T deal with the reality of life in Southern Californiaand Northern California and Arizona and Texas and New Mexico anywhere where the haves need the services and cheap back breaking labor of the have notsthen you need to get out and leave the blinders at home TC sets the action early and he is relentless The Rashoman style serves him well although he was brutal in his descriptions of Delaney and Kyra and their neighborsthe uintessential liberal do gooders in their SUV's and mammoth gated communities eating up the very wildness they glorify while sipping Chardonnay and munching smoked sturgeon This book does an excellent job of throwing a spotlight on the racial discord which unfortunately grows by leaps and bounds daily particularly in our post 911 and Border Minutemen hysteria What was true in 1995 has only intensified in 2010 growing to include irrational fear towards anyone different from the Euro descended workaholic Christian villagers Listen to the community fathers and mothers fret about homeless tent cities being moved to their 'hoods It's a wonder we don't have torches descending on the churchyards harboring these supposed sex perverts and thievesguilty by way of bad luck Read this book Get a look at the other side of your office cleaning lady's life the reality of that small dark man with the leaf blower or stacking the shelves in your local Wal Mart You owe to yourself


  9. says:

    The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle is not without its flaws but even a decade or after publication it has only grown in its relevance regarding the deep seated problems of illegal immigration particularly the Mexican southwestern US nexusBoyle tells the story of two couples one rich white and privileged the other homeless Mexican and struggling and how their lives intersect Delaney and Kyra live in a polished gated community north of Los Angeles where she works as a real estate agent and he is a house husband ministering to his step son and wife and writing a local environmental column Delaney appears to be a classic Eastern liberal although circumstances end up tearing off his veneer to reveal the darker attitudes that lurk just below the surfaceCandido is Delaney's homeless immigrant counterpart a Mexican with a pregnant young wife neither of whom can catch a breakIn alternating chapters their stories are told The plot hurtles forward on Boyle's expert prose and the depiction of one vivid incident after anotherWhile Boyle does skewer the privileged white folks without much mercy there is enough dimension and complexity here for this reader to say that the author isn't merely bashing for the sake of bashing The problem isn't easy the anti immigrant reactions aren't without justification and no pat solutions are presented What is presented is this horrendous confluence between haves and have nots and an environment in which the cultural economic and language divide is deep and disturbing and far too open to tragic misunderstandingsThis is not a problem that is going away; if anything it has become acute since Boyle wrote his book I think where he succeeds the most is in getting us inside the heads of two desperate Mexican immigrants who are at heart honorable people He helps us understand why they were driven to leave their homeland gives us empathy for their plight while at the same time managing to genuinely irritate us about their bad judgments One is left I think with the sense that we as a nation of immigrants need to pay far closer attention to where we are going and to develop public policies and resources toward genuine solutions Terrible burdens are being paid every day for lack of this on both sides of the euation


  10. says:

    This is probably not going to be a popular opinion butI didn't like this book very much I might have DNF but I kept hoping it would get better So depressing You have a Mexican family searching for a better life and the wealthy white family who slide into cruelty The characters aren't very well developed