©1995 T. Coraghessan Boyle; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
"This highly engaging story subtly plays on our consciences, forcing us to form, confirm, or dispute social, political, and moral viewpoints. This is a profound and tragic tale, one that exposes not only a failed American Dream, but a failing America." (Booklist)
A book that challenges social conscience.
An illegal immigrant and his young pregnant wife strive to survive while staying invisible in a wealthy southern California. They interact with other immigrants, unscrupulous and sometimes predatory employers, the authorities, and the wealthy citizens of the area. We see how one of these citizens, who at the onset is a supporter of America as being a land of opportunity for all, by the end sees the squatters as the cause of problems complicating his family's life and damaging the ecology of their land. Its possible to sympathize with both sides and realize there is not a simple answer..
A tortured and passionate story of illegal immigrants and California natives, fear and naivete, hope and hate. This could have been written at any time in the past fifty years, and would be as relevant as it was when it was published. The characters are rich and I felt for them with every turn of the story. Despite the series of misfortunes that befall the characters, the author manages to end the book on a hopeful note, which made me smile. This is a great listen for all ages.
Learning how the immigrants survive is interesting. But as an audiobook this really drags. I prefer unabridged audiobooks but abridgement is needed to make this book tolerable. The social theme of contrast between comfortable life of residents vs desperate life of the immigrants is hammered way, way beyond what is needed. We get it already, let the events speak for themselves. The internal dialog of the characters is tedious. Also, there are too many descriptions, many of which are not at all of interest. Avoid this audiobook.
TC Boyle is a master at demonstrating the pathos and struggle of everyday life. The Tortilla Curtain is definitely an unvarnished look at the great gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Despite Boyle having written this book nearly 20 years ago, the story is perhaps even more pertinent in 2013. The narrative is compelling in the way a Steinbeck story compels--one hopes against hope for some bright outcome, despite all signs pointing to tragedy. The narration is a seamless fit with the author's work.
The woman who reads this book was annoying to listen to -- to say the least. I could hear her continually swallowing and making various smacking sounds. I found myself thinking about how I couldn't stand to listen to her (but had to because it was for a class reading assignment) more than listening to the story. Appears author used his thesaurus frequently also annoying... you'll understand when you start listening. Wouldn't recommend to anyone.
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