Published over twenty years, this story of the complexities in areas of US immigration is spot-on and unrelenting-much as it was when I first inhaled it. Boyle's story intertwines the lives of a White, privileged California couple with those of a poor Mexican couple who have crossed the border having no formal authority to do so. Still timely and crafted with useful irony, Boyle holds up a mirror that is may be hard to look into, but contains an insightful reflection. I continue to appreciate this book for all that it teaches me each time I revisit it.— Karen
T.C. Boyle’s “compelling” (The Chicago Tribune) novel about assimilation and the price of the American dream
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.
"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 of 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