The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle

Book 49

We generally have multiple copies of The Tortilla Curtain at the Used Book Store.  I figured that GBS must be teaching it in English class.  I figured that it was kinda like a One Book, One Chicago pick, where we all come to a greater cultural understanding at the end.  So I picked it up when I saw the audio book, read by the author.

Then I looked it up on LibraryThing, where the reviews suggested that it was more like The Grapes of Wrath.  Not possible, I thought.  The Grapes of Wrath was a million pages and this was a little trade paperback.

Southern California.  Two families: one prosperous white family in a gated community that is getting even more gated and one undocumented Mexican couple camping in the canyon with a baby on the way.

Yeah.  It was rather Steinbeck-of-the-modern-era.  Where stuff is bad at the beginning and it keeps finding a way to get worse until you can’t think of how it could get worse and then someone is cooking a Siamese cat in a stew to feed his family.  And it gets worse.

There was a rather profound moral to the story with that motif of the fences both literal and figurative.  We love nature until it hunts our little dogs.  We love our fellow man until there are just so many of them and they are threatening our property values.

As the story built to the climax, I found it very cinematic.  However, the ending was very abrupt and with little resolution.  I wonder how Hollywood is going to deal with that.

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