Nolan's Reviews > The Tortilla Curtain

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
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's review
Nov 10, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: mybooks

its really hard to believe that mr. boyle lives anywhere near the US/Mexico border. His portrait of the subject is trite, ham-fisted and overly simplified.

In the world of the tortilla curtain, being a liberal means that you recycle. In the world of the tortilla curtain, being hispanic means you are either unbelievably downtrodden and unlucky or you're carrying a knife and willing to use it.

early in the novel, the protagonist hits a hispanic man with his car. when he goes to see if the man is ok, the hispanic man responds in some wicked, foreign tongue, and we're treated to a passage along the lines of: "this man wasnt speaking, the US doesnt share a three-thousand mile border with Norway. No...this man was Mexican, and the langue he was speaking....Spanish." I dont remember the exact passage but its something along those lines. I remembered it because it was so laughably horrible. Good lord.

Really, this book is just awful. It seems to be a favorite of quasi-literary middled aged house wife book clubs, whatever, read whatever you want.

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07/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jeffrey I agree whole heartedly.

Katherine I also agree with you wholeheartedly. This book was terrible.

Melissa His portrait of the subject is trite, ham-fisted and overly simplified.

This certainly isn't the best book in the world but it was intended to be satirical. Consequently it is going to be ham-fisted, trite, and lean heavily on caricatures instead of characters.

Mignon Yeah, what Melissa said. That's Boyle's style - take a cliche or caricature, add a couple details or conversations to make you sympathetic (or wary, as the case may be) to them, then put them in strangely extenuating circumstances. I agree some of the writing is overwrought, and we tend to be beaten over the head with the metaphors, but the story is still compelling and the images are long-lasting.

No need to insult me, as I suppose I fall into the category of quasi-literary housewife. God forbid one be married and be required to take care of children at home. How cliche! Then again, maybe T.C. Boyle will write a book about me.

Rachel Yes, I agree: what's wrong with being a housewife?

Also, yes, I agree: it was SATIRE. It's kind of like when Steven Colbert says really ridiculous things. Satire is "ham-fisted, trite, and overly simplified" ON PURPOSE.

Neeta i had exactly the same reaction to that passage. after reading that, i literally stopped and considered whether to keep going. i gave him the benefit of the doubt for a good 100 pages, then called it quits. i don't understand the hype about this guy.

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