The Tortilla Curtain

By T. C. Boyle
Read by T. C. Boyle

11.78 Hours 01/01/2006 unabridged
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In this explosive and timely novel, T. C. Boyle explores an issue that is at the forefront of the political arena. He confronts the controversy over illegal immigration head-on, illuminating through a poignant, gripping story the people on both sides of the issue: the haves and the have-nots. In Southern California’s Topanga Canyon, two couples live in close proximity and yet are worlds apart. High atop a hill overlooking the canyon, nature writer Delaney Mossbacher and his wife, real estate agent Kyra Menaker-Mossbacher, reside in an exclusive, secluded housing development with their son, Jordan. The Mossbachers are agnostic liberals with a passion for recycling and fitness. Camped out in a ravine at the bottom of the canyon are Cándido and América Rincón, a Mexican couple who have crossed the border illegally. On the edge of starvation, they search desperately for work in the hope of moving into an apartment before their baby is born. They cling to their vision of the American dream, which, no matter how hard they try to achieve it, manages to elude their grasp at every turn. A chance, violent encounter brings together Delaney and Cándido, instigating a chain of events that eventually culminates in a harrowing confrontation. The novel shifts back and forth between the two couples, giving voice to each of the four main characters as their lives become inextricably intertwined and their worlds collide. The Rincóns’ search for the American dream, and the Mossbachers’ attempts to protect it, comprise the heart of the story. In scenes that are alternately comic, frightening, and satirical, but always all “too real,” Boyle confronts not only immigration but social consciousness, environmental awareness, crime, and unemployment in a tale that raises the curtain on the dark side of the American dream.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 1997 Prix Médicis Étranger Literary Award

Winner of the Audie Award for Best Narration by the Author

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

In this explosive and timely novel, T. C. Boyle explores an issue that is at the forefront of the political arena. He confronts the controversy over illegal immigration head-on, illuminating through a poignant, gripping story the people on both sides of the issue: the haves and the have-nots.

In Southern California’s Topanga Canyon, two couples live in close proximity and yet are worlds apart. High atop a hill overlooking the canyon, nature writer Delaney Mossbacher and his wife, real estate agent Kyra Menaker-Mossbacher, reside in an exclusive, secluded housing development with their son, Jordan. The Mossbachers are agnostic liberals with a passion for recycling and fitness. Camped out in a ravine at the bottom of the canyon are Cándido and América Rincón, a Mexican couple who have crossed the border illegally. On the edge of starvation, they search desperately for work in the hope of moving into an apartment before their baby is born. They cling to their vision of the American dream, which, no matter how hard they try to achieve it, manages to elude their grasp at every turn.

A chance, violent encounter brings together Delaney and Cándido, instigating a chain of events that eventually culminates in a harrowing confrontation. The novel shifts back and forth between the two couples, giving voice to each of the four main characters as their lives become inextricably intertwined and their worlds collide. The Rincóns’ search for the American dream, and the Mossbachers’ attempts to protect it, comprise the heart of the story. In scenes that are alternately comic, frightening, and satirical, but always all “too real,” Boyle confronts not only immigration but social consciousness, environmental awareness, crime, and unemployment in a tale that raises the curtain on the dark side of the American dream.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Lays on the line our national cult of hypocrisy. Comically and painfully he details the smug wastefulness of the haves and the vile misery of the have-nots.” Barbara Kingsolver, bestselling author of The Bean Trees
“A book to appreciate as we peer at the faces of strangers outside our windows and wall ourselves in.” Boston Globe
“A compelling story of myopic misunderstanding and mutual tragedy.” Chicago Tribune
“A rich and moving novel about the price of the American dream by America’s most imaginative contemporary novelist.” Newsweek
“T. C. Boyle’s intimate connection to this story provides the precise character interpretation necessary for a high-energy and entertaining performance. His inclination for sarcasm, humor, and a wide range of emotions illuminates the turmoil behind a complicated national issue.”  AudioFile
“Boyle manages to address...issues in a nonjudgmental fashion, depicting the vast inequity in [the characters’] parallel existences. 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.” Booklist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: T. C. Boyle

T. C. Boyle is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Drop City, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and World’s End, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has also written numerous short-story collections. He lives near Santa Barbara, California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 11.78
Audience: Adult
Language: English