©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.
This book has Stayed with me many months after listening to it. The characters are real people for me. Their trials and adventures are real. I was born and raised in the area where this book is set. Although it is a work of fiction, every detail is vividly correct. The environment is one of the characters. I know this setting and now I know the inner lives of the people in this book. I do not look at day workers or the ongoing debates about immigration the same way since listening to The Tortilla Curtain. This is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story and a major commentary on an ongoing problem. I highly recommend this book for pleasure and for enlightenment..
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.
Nothing but sadness and adversity. I kept waiting for them to overcome. For there to be a noble character for there to be some triumph and it never, ever comes. I cannot recommend this book because it doesn't inspire it only depresses.
Not if the writing style is the same as this book. The details are vivid and colorful, but the premise is disturbing and short sighted.
I'll go back to informational as well as history based books.
I don't see how they could interface the characters to show how they have improved and grown into the new world. without using the religion that they had in the old world to guide them, or the common sense that abounds in all of us after traumatic events, the story could not flow or connect to the point of being believable after this book...
Although the events are very believable, the 'dumbing down' of the main mexican characters was offensive as well as unfair. after the trauma at the border the first time, they would have learned to be wary of personal encounters as well as using the systems available to them through the church or local outreach programs. to set them so low in the social intelligence ranking is insulting as well as unbelievable. It is asking us to release too much of what we are to connect to the main protagonists. It's like watching a movie made by someone who has no idea how to cast actors...
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.
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