Monday, March 18, 2013

More Like Bloodied Tortilla

Not an unfamiliar author- T.C. Boyle. But I'm not a big fan. The 'The Tortilla Curtain' has been around for years (since 1995 to be precise), and might have been the most known among all his works.

Never bothered about it. It felt too much like a literature text that I gave it a double wide berth. Found it nestled deep with the pile of books and on the title alone, flipped it open.

There're certain themes that I wanted to explore through the eyes of the characters- Cándido Rincón and his young common-law-wife América (pregnant with a child that isn't his, but of her rapist's) as they moved through Los Angeles as illegal immigrants from Mexico, living in a shack at the edge of a luxurious gated community; and their paths interlink with Americans Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher who live comfortably in said luxurious gated community. Not as cliché as it sounds. 

There're the, what we're now familiar with, #firstworldproblems of the Mossbachers, and the real livelihood issues the Rincóns are struggling with. The book develops predictably, through a fire that engulfed the area of slums and gated communities, of revenge and whatnot, resulting in the drowning of América's possibly blind baby girl. And as an observer, I read, and tried to understand the worlds and social issues the book addresses.

"Home protection." Delaney watched Jack lift a sliver of maguro to his lips. "I'll bet the best you can do is maybe a Louisville Slugger, am I right?" 
"You mean a gun?" 
"Absolutely," Jack said, chewing, and then he reached for the glass of sake to wash it down. "It's an angry, fragmented society out there, Delaney, and I'm not only talking about your native haves and have-nots, but the torrents of humanity surging in from China and Bangladesh and Colombia with no shoes, no skills and nothing to eat. They want what you've got, my friend, and do you really think they're going to come knocking at the door and ask politely for it? Look, it boils down to this: no matter what you think about guns, would you rather be the killer or the killee?" 
Jack had picked up the check and from there they'd gone to Grantham's GunMart in Van Nuys, and it wasn't all that Delaney had expected. There were no escaped convicts or Hell's Angels sifting through bins of hollow-point bullets, no swaggering bear hunters or palpitating accountants running up and down the aisles with their tails between their legs. The place was wide open, brightly lit, the wares laid out on display as if Grantham's was dealing in fine jewelry or perfume or Rolex watches.

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