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The Tortilla Curtain
The Tortilla Curtain
Author: T. C. Boyle
The author of East Is East replays the tragi-comic meeting of representatives from two different cultures with nothing in common. This book calmly grabs hold with an unexpected suspense. — Winner of the Prix Medicis EtrangerTopanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordere...  more »
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PBS Market Price: $12.29 or $8.39+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780140238280
ISBN-10: 014023828X
Publication Date: 9/1/1996
Pages: 368
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 188 ratings
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

MyLikeIt avatar reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 450 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I lived in Topanga Canyon during the period described in this novel. Boyle hits all the right notes, describing the canyon and its denizens. A touching tale of moral ambiguities. Don't miss it.
reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Very well written and balanced story about illegal immigrants in Los Angeles, how they live and how they affect the lives of the Americans in the community. Very timely, excellent book.
reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This book is a must read - it brought understanding to much of the culture you don't see in a big city... eye-opening and real.
reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This book offers a fascinating glimpse at two completely different worlds that eventually collide. It is the story of two couples, one Mexican immigrant and the other Southern California yuppies. It was a riveting read, very difficult to put down.
reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Engaging & thought-provoking look at the contrasting and intersecting lives of two couples in California: one enjoying the privileges of life in the upper middle class, the other struggle to survive after crossing the border from Mexico without papers. Worth reading alongside the final section from Schlosser's (nonfiction) *Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market."
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perryfran avatar reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 1159 more book reviews
I have been a fan of T.C. Boyle for many years and have read several of his novels and short story collections. For the most part, I have enjoyed them all and really feel that Boyle is a masterful writer and storyteller. TORTILLA CURTAIN is a book that I've had on my shelves for several years and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. It tells the story of what happens when two different cultures collide in the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher are a liberal couple living in a gated community in the hills of the canyon while Candido and America Rincon are illegals living in a makeshift camp in the ravine striving to stay alive. The novel starts out with Delaney accidentally hitting Candido with his car and badly injuring him as he is walking along the canyon road. Candido does not want medical assistance in fear of being deported. So Delaney gives him 20 bucks and doesn't report the accident. This all leads to a change in attitude for Delaney who once believed in rights for all, but the illegals living in the canyon upset him with their littering and disregard to the nature Delaney is so fond of and he is led to believe that Candido allowed himself to be hit by his car in order to receive some kind of monetary claim. The book details the life of both the illegals and their struggles and the life of the the California family living their dream with the wife being a successful realtor and the husband being a writer for a nature magazine. All of this eventually leads to misunderstanding and tragedy.

This definitely was not a happy story. Nothing good ever happens especially to Candido and America. Candido tries to find work but his injury results in America also hoping to find some kind of job. They try to save their money to rent some kind of apartment but tragedy seems to follow them. Although this was overall a very sad and depressing story, I would still rank it as one of Boyle's best. It is so relatable to the border crisis of today even though it was published in 1995. Things have definitely gotten worse since then with no solution in sight. And if Trump gets reelected, I don't foresee anything good happening with future immigration policy.
merrytranslator avatar reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 68 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book and the way Boyle framed the conflict between wealthy Americans and Mexican immigrants against the evolutionary struggle between animals for space in an ecosystem. The characters were interesting,convincing and the style was lively.
reviewed The Tortilla Curtain on + 38 more book reviews
Liked this book.