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The Tortilla Curtain | [T. C. Boyle]

The Tortilla Curtain

Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacker lead an ordered, sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: He is a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine.
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Publisher's Summary

Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacker lead an ordered, sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: He is a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine.

From the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delany into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.

Winner of the Prix Medicis Etranger and now a major motion picture.

©1995 T. Coraghessan Boyle; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Winner of Audio Publishers Association 2007 Audie Award, Narration by the Author or Authors

"A compelling story of myopic misunderstanding and mutual tragedy." (Chicago Tribune)

"This highly engaging story subtly plays on our consciences, forcing us to form, confirm, or dispute social, political, and moral viewpoints....Boyle manages to address these issues in a nonjudgmental fashion, depicting the vast inequity in [the characters'] parallel existences. This is a profound and tragic tale." (Booklist)

“This novel examines America's guerrilla war between the haves and have-nots with a zing unequalled since The Bonfire of the Vanities.” (The Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (302 )
5 star
 (104)
4 star
 (91)
3 star
 (65)
2 star
 (25)
1 star
 (17)
Overall
3.9 (105 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
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2 star
 (7)
1 star
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Story
4.2 (106 )
5 star
 (58)
4 star
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3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Corinne Washington, DC, United States 07-31-07
    Corinne Washington, DC, United States 07-31-07 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    390
    ratings
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    1138
    108
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    27
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    Overall
    "Too stylized"

    The subject is important and the differences in perspectives between residents and illegal immgrants is key, but all main characters are overdone and charactures. There is enough reality for me to wish the author had written the same story, but with more humanity and sensitiviity.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobbi B 07-14-07
    Bobbi B 07-14-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    187
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    I really enjoyed listening to the author read his book. The story was very enlightening to me regarding the different issues each character had to face.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Swad 12-13-12
    Swad 12-13-12

    swadmeister

    HELPFUL VOTES
    164
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    129
    58
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    4
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    Story
    "Fantastic"
    Any additional comments?

    Great, deep themes. Wonderful characters. Emotional, despairing, frustrating. Like not being able to look away from a train wreck. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 Czech Republic 11-30-11
    Parola138 Czech Republic 11-30-11 Listener Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
    364
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    127
    104
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    27
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great"

    This book blew me away. I am impressed that the writer could pen both sides- the yuppie white folks living in their suburban fortresses, and the down-and-out mexicans living in the woods, with such authenticity. Narration was great.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States 10-11-09
    Robert GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States 10-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    23
    12
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    Overall
    "A Bit Disappointed in this One"

    I have enjoyed short stories by this author, but I didn't particularly enjoy this novel. There are no likeable characters and the story is quite unbelievable without feeling exactly like a fantasy. So many details that aim to make this sound authentic, but it didn't work for me.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irishconfusion Ray, MI, United States 08-18-07
    Irishconfusion Ray, MI, United States 08-18-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "Too little too late"

    I found this book to be quite tedious. The narrator did not appeal to me at all. But even worse, I kept waiting for the two story lines in this book to intersect. They finally do. Unfortunately I had to wait until the very last minute of the book for this to happen. I was disappointed.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 07-23-07
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 07-23-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    74
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    151
    53
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    8
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    Overall
    "ridiculously great"

    People don't write books like this anymore and people rarely read books of this caliber any more. This is hands down a classic. Writing is top notch. Story compelling. The events and emotions poignant. The reading of it is great too. One of the best I've heard on audio.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Demetra 11-18-08
    Demetra 11-18-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    74
    ratings
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    158
    54
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Had to pull the curtain!!"

    I could not finish this book. I kept waiting for the story to start. I listened for several hours and felt like it was all background. So much negativity, depression and disaster. This is the first audiobook I had to quit listening to. I read the reviews before I bought it and I can't believe so many people loved it. Guess I'm just a murder, mystery kind of girl.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C.G. 02-05-15
    C.G. 02-05-15 Member Since 2013

    CMcB

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beyond the scope of overly dramatic"

    I could have appreciated this story and what it tried to do were it not for the 18 too many natural disasters and tragedies to befall a man and wife (illegal immigrants). While tragedies certainly do occur, I would have hoped the author trusted his audience more than to "force" them to care with over-the-top, heightened dramatics. Subtlety is an art, one that gains sympathy from your reader with the author having to try so very, very hard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Sullivan Chicago, il, United States 03-25-13
    P. Sullivan Chicago, il, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
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    0
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    Story
    "The Haves and the Have Nothings"
    What did you love best about The Tortilla Curtain?

    This is a thought-provoking story about a poor Mexican man (Candido) and his wife, and a rich white Californian (Delaney) and his wife that contrasts their lives and struggles. What Delaney and his wife see as difficulties are in sharp contrast to the very real struggles faced by Candido and his wife, America.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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