But onto the book...Tortilla Curtain is required reading in many high school classes, and while I was not fortunate enough to read the novel until after I graduated college, I would highly recommend this book to any young or old person in America. Written in the nineties, Tortilla Curtain still rings true to many of the issues we wrestle with in this new century. As you can probably imagine, this novel explores the perplexing and often heated debate surrounding illegal immigration. Set in California, Tortilla Curtain reveals to its readers two very different viewpoints on immigration. TC Boyle brings to life two couples: an upper-class, liberal, environmentally friendly wife and husband and a newly married bride and groom, freshly immigrated from Mexico, struggling to survive in a very unfriendly environment.
While these two couples live in vastly different worlds, their paths unexpectedly cross when Delaney (the white upperclass male) accidentally hits Candido with his car. For different reasons, both men decide not to call the police or an ambulance, and Delaney gives Candido a twenty dollar bill to compensate for his injury. From that point on, the lives of these couples are directly and indirectly influenced by each other, and prejudices and assumptions are made on both sides.
Out of TC Boyle's twelve novels, Tortilla Curtain is his most successful, and I understand why. The characters are unique and painfully human. As I read about Delaney and Kyra or Candido and America, I found elements of my own life embedded in their stories. These small connections helped to remind me that as human beings, we have far more in common with each other than we sometimes think. Additionally it encouraged me to look at the immigration issue with different eyes. Like so many political hot topics in our country, illegal immigration is complex, far more complex than most politicians want to admit. I think our country would be a lot better if more people were exposed to novels that painted both sides of difficult issues; Boyle was able to accomplish this, adn I As always, Boyle is a master with language and his writing is comedic, fresh and engaging. So if you need a book to read over the next few weeks, I would highly suggest picking this one up.