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The Tortilla Curtain (Paperback)
T.C. Boyle’s tragicomic, award-winning novel about assimilation, immigration, and the price of the American dream
“A masterpiece of contemporary social satire . . . Turning the collective face of Mexican immigration into one ordinary human being, and walking many bruising miles in Candido’s cheap shoes, is Mr. Boyle’s gift to our collective conscience. But what makes The Tortilla Curtain good reading for any political stripe is that the author neither romanticizes the newcomers nor demonizes those who would pull up the ladder behind them.” —The Wall Street Journal
Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he 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. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.
About the Author
T.C. Boyle is an American novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published sixteen novels, most recently The Terranauts and The Harder They Come, and ten collections of short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his novel World’s End, and the Prix Médicis étranger for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995; his 2003 novel Drop City was a finalist for the National Book Award. His honors include the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the Henry David Thoreau Prize for excellence in nature writing, and the Rea Award for the Short Story. He is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Santa Barbara.
Winner of the Prix Medicis Etranger
“A compelling story of myopic misunderstanding and mutual tragedy.”
“Succeeds in stealing the front page news and bringing it home to the great American tradition of the social novel . . . A book to appreciate as we peer at the faces of strangers outside our windows, and wall ourselves in.”
—The Boston Globe
“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, The Nation
“Boyle’s writing is irresistible and his sense of dramatic timing is impeccable.”
“America’s most imaginative contemporary novelist.”
“It says a lot about T. Coraghessan Boyle’s new novel that so many generations of great satirists come to mind when reading it—from Swift to Twain to Waugh to Woody Allen, Boyle specifically evokes Voltaire.”
—The Baltimore Sun
“Weaving social commentary into moving entertaining fiction is a job few writers can handle. Boyle does so here, admirably. Readers should not miss this latest work from an impressive talent.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Boyle’s sixth novel cements his place among the reigning pantheon of contemporary American fiction writers. (It’s one heck of a great read.)”
—Rocky Mountain News
“A panoramic slice of social realism . . . [that] incorporates all of Boyle’s themes: the impossibility of assimilation, the need for control, the increasing helplessness of white males.”
“A tale that squeezes one last cup of vinegar from The Grapes of Wrath.”