I’m reading The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle that was kindly provided to me by reader el and peeing myself with laughter. The book is not supposed to be funny because it’s supposedly about the suffering of illegal Mexican immigrants. I keep saying “supposed” because this author has either never seen a Mexican or has and is taking the piss.
These Mexican characters have the temperament, the communication skills and the emotional range that makes them look downright Finnish. They sit there, alone and in complete silence, terrified of any human contact, incapable of connecting with anybody, struggling for hours with the unbearable task of saying a word to other illegal Mexican immigrants.
Of course, portraying illegal immigrants as emotionally stunted and communicationally challenged makes them look a lot more pathetic. Mexicans in this novel are barely human. This obviously ridiculous way of writing about them tells us nothing whatsoever of Mexicans and everything about the culture that produces and consumes this kind of novels.
I’ve only a third of the novel in but I definitely recommend. I saw in online reviews that this is standard fare in highschool English classes, and that explains an enormous lot.