Archive for November, 2009

Dan Brown and his work

November 20, 2009

Dan Brown was born at the 22nd June in 1964 in Exeter, New Hampshire. He is married and lives with his wife in Newlon in Newland. He’s known as a famous American author of thriller fiction

He had been an English teacher before he began to write books. Because his father was a eminently respectable professor in maths at university and made church music, science and religion were no things which doesn’t belong in any way to each other – for him they aren’t totally disparate. This aspect you  nearly come always across in his books and also in Angels and Demons. People think that this makes his books popular and  this is why he has so much success. Because of the book The da Vinci Code he has become on of the most successful authors in the world. Also Angels and Demons reached to the top of the most wanted books in the world.

During his studies (Spanish history and culture in Sevilla) he got in contact with Leonardo da Vinci and the theory that he has hidden secret messages in his works. After his college degree he began a carrier as singer and songwriter, so he produced a cassette with songs for kids. 1991 he moved to Los Angeles to get more success as a musician. In that time he earned money by teaching Spanish at the Beverly Hills Preparatory School. After a little time he succeeded as musician and SynthAnimals was produced and then was available in nearly all the United States and his album has also been produced yet. 1995 his second album Angels and Demons was out, but he refused to perform his songs – he doesn’t like the spotlight, he only wants to write songs. But they wanted to force him, but he refused anyway. So for him this kind of carrier was finished.

After finishing his carrier as songwriter he is only devoted to writing books. In the thriller Digital Fortress he broach the issue of security in the internet and damage the privacy of the American people. Digital Fortress appears in february in 1998. For that he got into trouble with the NSA. For researching to get material to write  Angels and Demons he travelled a lot. Angels and Demons appears on market in april in 2000. Publicity was his own business and also his books were much criticised because of what issues his books contain.

In his books he always gives a simple answer on complicated topics like for the popularity unknown conflicts or conspiracy theory. He connects historical facts with fiction. This is the point why he is that much popular and why he is so hard criticized. This is very comprehensible because of the christian religious elements and the indirect in the case maybe direct criticism against church or religious fusions which he makes clear using mystic and criminalistic aspects.

In May 2006 The da Vinci Code was transformed into a movie where Tom Hanks got the role of the protagonist Robert Langdon. But not only The da Vinci Code is available as movie, but also Angels and Demons now.

His most important works:

  • Digital Fortress (1998)
  • Angels and Demons (2000)
  • Deception Point (2001)
  • The da Vinci Code (2003)
  • The Lost Symbol (2009)

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

November 17, 2009

A Town like Alice by Nevil Shute

November 3, 2009

The Notebook

November 3, 2009


The Notebook is a classic tale of love, simply told but haunting and captivating.

“I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”

This is how the story begins, with an elderly man in a nursing home who reads a story out of his old notebook to a woman, the love of his life. She has Alzheimer disease and often doesn’t remember him, so the man tries to bring her memories back by reading a story of  love lost, found and regained to her. Each morning, he enters her room with the book containing memories of  his life and love, never giving up the hope that some day she will remember him. So he starts telling the story..

The story starts in October of 1946. Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returnes home from World War II. He startes
to restoring his dream house in New Bern. He shares a lot of wonderful memories with this place.. especially the  images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years ago, a girl he loved like no other. Allie Nelson was his first love, he met her at a carnival and it was love at first sight. They spent the summer together sharing great experience and by the end of the season, it was clear that these two are meant to be together but they were never meant to last forever. Allie was the daughter of a rich family from the city which did only spend their summers in New Bern and it was obvious that Noah who belonged to a different class, won’t ever be able to achieve the expectations of her parents. The dozen letters Noah wrote to Allie after she returned home never received her. The time goes by and both of them continued to live their different lifes but never forgot about each other.

Now Allie is 29 and engaged to successful lawyer, called Lon. Right before her marriage, she reads an article
about Noah in the newspaper and decides that she must see him one last time. Once Allie meets Noah face to face again, it is obvious that the passion they shared so long ago is still there. They spend two wonderful days together and it seemes like everything is just how it used to be back when they were teenagers. However, Allie must soon return to her other life and the man she is about to marry.

The last quarter of the book deals with an elderly couple and their neverending love. It is the couple from the beginning of the book, the man still telling his wife about this love story. The woman still forgets about the life she shared with this man. He doesn’t give up hope and keeps trying to get back her memories. The doctors and nurses are
stunned and touched by this man’s undying faith which can sometimes fool the disease and his love gets her memory back once in a while. Those moments Noah and Allie share are priceless and unforgetable.


Sparks was born on December 31th in 1965 in Omaha,  Nebraska. A sport injury forced him to stay in bed the entire summer, in which he discovered his passion for writing. He started writing novels, but his first two novels, unfortunately, never got published. Sparks graduated in Buisness Fiance and later on he worked numerous jobs such as real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products and he also started his own manufacturing business. In 1996 finally, Sparks’ first novel “The Notebook was published. During the following years he wrote about ten other novels which were all published as well. Meanwhile, he belongs to the internationally bestselling authors of America. His works deal with themes like love, tragedy, christianity and fate. So far, he has published 15 novels, four of them have even been turned into movies. “The Notebook” has been one of them. Other famous novels by Sparks are “The Wedding”, “The Guardian”, “The Choice”, ..


Noah Calhoun:  31 years old ( at the time the main story takes place ), Southerner, faithful, idealistic, strong, good looking, a poet, helpful, strong relationship with family and friends, respectful to nature and authority, represents true love and faith, loyal, realistic, likeable, sympathetic,..

He fell in love with Allie when he was seventeen, after Allie left the town he kept writing her dozen of letters but they were never responded at all, dated different women since then but Allie still towers over every girl he’s ever seen, after her departure he headed to different cities looking for jobs in order to keep his mind off Allie, went to Europe in World War II as a soldier, came back healthy and started restoring the house of his dreams..

Allie Nelson: 29 years old, represents the different types of love that exist, grows and matures during the story just like her understanding of love, belongs to a higher class, beautiful, intelligent, cushy, wanted to become an artist in former years, great talent in painting, ..

After leaving New Bern and leaving Noah Allie went to college, studying arts but later she gave up her talent completely, she went on with volunteering in a hospital to medicate the homecomers from war were she met her current finacé, three weeks before her marriage she is longing to see Noah again after fourteen years, her finacé Lon could never evoke the feelings in her Noah did in the past..

Lon Hammond: 37 years old, handsome, intelligent, driven, successful lawyer, high status in the cast system of the South, self-obsessed, loves Allie in his own way

Anne Nelson:  Allies’s mother, tries to keep Noah apart from Allie, hide Noah’s letters he wrote to Allie,  she’s not evil though, shows how difficult it was for people who had fallen ion love with people from different classes, in the end she is the person who tells Allie to listen to her heart after giving her all the letters.
The story contains three different storylines. The main storyline is the reunion of Noah and Allie and the conflict that the face as they must decide the path their lives will take now. Though, this event and this storyline only last three days in 1946. The second storyline and the events that are told by Noah and Allie that happend earlier is very important for the main storyline in order to understand it. So the second storyline is the event when Noah and Allie meet at the carnival and spent the summer together and all the time that passes until they meet again in 1946.
In the opening and closing chapter, Noah is the narrator. But in the middle chapter the narrator has a limited, third-person omniscient point of view. This perspective allows the reader to look into the mind of a character, typically Noah and Allie, but sometimes does not, such as Anne and Lon. 
Miracles: The first chapter begins with an elderly man in a nursing home who is reflecting his life and than making his way to a woman who is also living in the nursing home. At first I was kind of confused because I didn’t expect the story to begin like that. At the back of the book it is said that the story is about a reunion of  Noah (31) and Allie (29), but when I started the book there was an old man reflecting his life and than making his way to a woman I didn’t know. The headline, too, confused me. I was trying to get where there could be a miracle in this chapter but couldn’t find one. But this made me being more excited about the rest of the book, to find out which miracles will happen.
Ghosts: Flashback. October 1946 and Noah  is 31 years old. He spends his days restoring the house of his dreams and his evenings playing the guitar. The house reminds him of his first love Allie he met 14 years ago. I felt very pitty for Noah because he seems very lonley and desperated. He still thinks of his first love allthough he doesn’t even have a clue where she lives and what she was up to the last 14 years. This chapter is not very exciting. But the headline fits very well – Noah is haunted by the ghosts of the images of Allie while restoring the house.
Reunion: Allie vistis Noah right before her marriage and they are spending two beautiful days (and nights) together in New Bern and Noah’s house. A very long but captivating and exciting chapter! I like a lot, that the reader can witness how the relationship between these two changes and how the tension fades away. At the beginning the are both very contained but the later it gets the more you can witness how both realize that the still love each other. I was always very curious to know how their feelings will develop and if they can make it together. But Allie always thinks of his fiancé at home and doesn’t want Noah to come too close. As a reader you always want Allie to decide and to choose Noah. I am excited about how the story will go on!
Phone calls: Lon (Allie’s fiancé) tries to contact Allie to no avail. He slowly becomes mistrustful. I really don’t like Lon. After this chapter I want Allie even more to choose Noah. Lon is self-obsessed and no good for Allie, in my opinion.
Moving water: Allie and Noah are charing the second day together. Noah tells her beautiful things and Allie is stunned by him. She compares her feelings for Noah with her relationship with Noah and comes to the conclusion that she loves Lon, but not the way as she loves Noah. I am so glad that she finally admits her feelings for Noah, I hope she chooses him. They spent a beautiful day together which moved me to tears. I am really stunned by Sparks detailed description of the nature and of their feelings.
Swans and Storms: After their trip Noah and Allie are spending the night together at Noah’s house. He confesses her his love and that she was his first lover. She tells him that she has never been physically with another and their are spending the night together, talking about love, making love. She finally confessed his love to him! I guess she won’t leave Noah another time and she will choose him and stay with him. I’m surprised that she has never slept with Lon and that Noah was the only one. That shows how much she still loves him and that no one can tower over Noah. But I don’t think it’s good to cheat on Lon, though. She should have first tell Lon, than going back to Noah.
Courtrooms: Lon postpones a trial and leaves for New Bern to bring Allie back home. Oh, that might be interesting. Will he catch them red-headed? Will Allie come back with her fiancé? Will Noah and Lon fight? Mayber Lon isn’t that self-obsessed as I thought at the beginning. He cares about her more about his work and wants to get her back.
An unexpected visitor: Allie is still at Noah’s house when her Mom, Anne knocks on the door. She warns them, that Lon is on his way to New Bern and delivers Noah’s letters she was hiding from Allie. Wow, I am surprised about her Mom. Anne was always the person who told Allie not to be with Noah because he is from another class and no good for her. She was even hiding all the letters Noah sent to Allie in order to avoid any contact between them. Now she even warns them that Lon is coming, although she was on his site and glad, that Allie will marry such a successful lawyer. Great development.
Crossroads: Anne leaves, Allie is torn and wants a “happy ending without anyone being hurt”. Noah asks her to stay beinf afraid to loose her again for ever. Allie decides to leave, they kiss and hug each other, confess their love to one another and Allie leaves without looking back. Why did she choose Lon? Noah is mcuh better! The scene was awesome, beautiful and as well said. They tell each other beautiful things but I cannot understand why she is leaving. Hopefully she is coming back..
A letter from yesterday: Allie drives back to the hotel she is staying and where Lon is waiting for her. Befor she speaks to him she reads the last letter Noah wrote to her, which her Mom hided from her. The letter contains the most beautiful and lovely words I’ve ever read. Noah told her the feelings he had deep inside him and said goodbye to her with very said and depressing words. The scene is very moving and stunning and the reader hopes that she finally realises that Noah is the best man for her, not Lon.
Winter for two: The point of viem switches back to the present-day story. The elderly man closes the notebook she was reading Noah’s and Allie’s story from. She doesn’t recognize him. A very sad ending. It moved me to tears and I will always remember. Finally I could find out that Allie did choose Noah and that they married and spent the rest of their live together. Happy ending.
I can recommend this book to everyone who loves beautiful, moving love stories. If your aren’t a love story-fanatic you won’t like The Notebook. It is a tearjerker, so be prepared for rivers of tears and be sure to have the hankies ready. The Notebook will make you believe in true love again and it will become more than a story – an experience to remember forever. The # 1 New York Times Bestseller is a remarkable one night-read and more than worth reading it. It is as beautiful and stunning as it can be sad and depressing, a love story to the core.
Since I started reading the first page of The Notebook, it became more and more difficult to put the book down. The story captured my heart by the first few words and did not let me go yet, I will always remember. The thing I like most about the book is the ageless and timeless character it has because of the framing storyline about the elderly couple. It is not the perfect lovestory with teenagers falling in love and spending the rest of their lifes together. It is more than that. It is the personal story of someone who found, lost and regained the love of his life. It’s all about real love, from the bottom of one’s heart. It’s a poignant and compelling story not least because of Sparks’ finess and his winning combination of story and style. He doesn’t only describe beautiful things, he describes them in a beautiful way and with lyrical beauty. The haunting story, based on the life story of Sparks grandparents-in-law, touched me and moved me to both, laughter and tears. A memorable story with pages passing way too quickly!

Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdi

November 3, 2009

The Final Passage by Caryl Phillips

November 3, 2009

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

November 3, 2009

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

November 3, 2009

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

November 1, 2009

William Golding’s life and work

William Golding was born in St Columb Minor in Cornwall, on 19th September 1911. Like his elder brother Joseph, he was educated at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a teacher. After school, he studied science and English in Oxford, from which he graduated in 1935. Apart from writing, he was interested in music (he played several instruments) and sailing. In 1939, he married Ann Brookfield and had two children with her. As a member of the Royal Navy, serving as a lieutenant commanding a rocket-firing ship, he took part in the Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944.

After the Second World War he became a teacher for English and Philosophy. From 1935 until 1940 and again from 1945 to 1954 he worked in small theatre companies as writer, actor and director.

The book that brought him international fame and popularity had an unpromising start. The novel Lord of the flies was rejected by several publishers before it came out in 1954. The novel became a standard on college and high school reading lists. It’s a number one classic of modern literature and also inspired two excellent films (Lord of the flies from 1963 and 1990). You can also find extracts from the plot in one sequence of The Simpsons.

In 1983 William Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. Although he was mainly a novelist, his writing also included short stories, dramas, essays and poems. He was best known for his themes of the struggle between good and evil (related to Lord of the flies) and for symbolism that invited interpretations on many levels.

Although his succeeding works never matched Lord of the flies in sales, they continued to win close critical attention (e.g. The Inheritors, The Spire, Close Quarters, To the Ends of Earth and many more).

On his 80th birthday he looked back on his work and said that he still had to write the ultimate novel and his best book. Sir William Golding, the great visionary writer and one of literature’s great moralists, died of a heart attack at his home in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, on 19th June 1993.

I want to end my blog about the author with one quotation which impressed me a lot and which I consider absolutely right: “Words may, through the devotion, the skill, the passion and the luck of writers, prove to be the most powerful thing in the world.” William Golding

Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle

November 1, 2009


The author- T.C. Boyle

“Comedy is my mode of dealing with tragedy and despair.”

Thomas John Boyle was born on December 2nd, 1948 in Peekskill, NY. When he was 17 years old he changed his middle name to Coraghessan after his ancestors. After excessive teens in the time of the hippie movement and students protests, T.C.Boyle became teacher of a high school and published his first short stories in magazines. His father was a bus driver and his mother a secretary, and they were Catholic. In 1974 T.C. Boyle married Karen Kvashay, and they now have three children, two boys and one girl, who all live near Santa Barbara, CA

T.C. Boyle published sixteen books, including ten novels which are available in many languages. His work has been translated into more than two dozen foreign languages, including German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, Danish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Finnish and Farsi. He also wrote many stories which have appeared in major American magazines, e.g. The New Yorker , Harper’s . He has received various literary awards as well.

Since 1986 he has got an English professorship of “Creative writing” at the University of Southern California.

His most popular works are the Inner Circle, The Tortilla curtain, Water Music and his newest book The woman.



What is the “tortilla curtain”?“Tortilla Curtain” is a popular name for the Mexican-American border. There is a big fence along the American boarder to Mexico to prevent Mexicans from entering the U.S.A.  Because of the bad economical situation of Mexico, thousands of Mexican people want to emigrate into the U.S.A. to find a job and to live the American dream as far as possible. Of course the high number of immigrants causes problems for The United States.

In the book “the tortilla curtain” the plot describes the identity, situation, and the attitude of two families.

Delaney, Kyra, and Jordan Mossbacher live in Arroyo Blanco in Los Angeles, CA, which  is a rich district. They seem to have a very modern lifestyle, health plays a big role and they are committed in their community.

Delaney Mossbacher is the house husband. He is the author of a monthly column called “Pilgrim at Topanga Creek”. In these columns he writes about ecological matters. When he does not write, he is out walking and observing nature. Everything is in order in the life of Delaney. While Kyra works at her office, he takes care of their child Jordan. For him it is all right that his wife is the chief breadwinner. This shows his modern attitude. During the plot the change in the attitude of the fence near their district becomes clear.

Kyra Mossbacher is about 30 years old and is a successful real estate agent. She is about the Mexicans because they always hang around near the houses she tries to sell.

Jordan Mossbacher who is six years old is addicted to computer games.

The Rincons

América Rincón is a 17 years old Mexican girl who is pregnant. Her family, who lives in Mexico, is very big. Her name can be seen as her dream. She marries Cándido, the former husband of her sister and is very keen about his plan to immigrate in the U.S.A. .So she follows Cándido and crosses the border illegally. She dreams of a better life there. But they don‘t find work and they stay very poor. You can even say that they must reduce their standard of living down to a level which is below the standard of an average Mexican family. It is very hard for her, that they don´t succeed and she has to struggle with the circumstance that they live under so bad conditions. All the time there is also the fear of being found by the police so they try to hide in the wilderness. But she is willing to work as hard as possible for the realization of her dreams. América doesn‘t know how to handle her pregnancy, and she fears for her baby‘s health.

Cándido Rincón is a 33 years old man. His biggest dream is to live in America with a job and that he earns enough money for him and his family. His family is, like most people in his country, very poor and religious. Several times he tries to realize his dream by immigrate illegally into the U.S.A. But yet, they even haven`t the money to buy enough food to prevent starving.



The book is subdivided into three parts.

Summary of the first part -Arroyo Blanco

Chapter 1

The book starts with an accident. Delaney is driving on the highway through the Topanga Canyon. Suddenly Delaney hits a man, who crosses the highway. Immediately Delaney asks himself whether his car is still all right. But then he realizes that he has just hit a man. He gets off the car and wants to look after this man. But the man seemed to have disappeared. He starts to search him. Finally he finds him lying in the bushes near the roadside. The man, Cánidio is bleeding and in pain. He is hurt very badly. Delaney tries to speak with him but Cándido does not understand English. After several misunderstandings, Delaney offers Cándido about $20 which he takes happily. Now both of them want to leave the place quickly but for diffrent reasons. Cándido has the fear to be found by the police or someone else while Delaney wants to get off of the spot because the scenery is very embarrassing for him and he feels uncomfortable by offering the Mexican man just $20. Delaney is getting angrier because he can´t understand why the Mexican man crossed the street so rash. The chapter ends with Delaney saying to his wife, that he just had caused an accident and that he gave Cándido, the man he hit, $20. Kyra, his wife, asks why he only gave him $20. Delaney replies he was only Mexican.Here, the subliminal racial attitude of Delaney becomes obvious.

In the first chapter the main characters meet for the first time. They will meet again several times but without knowing it. In the book the two completely different life stories of the two men and their families are compared.

Having read the first pages, I became very curious about the following story. I think also, that the subject, the illegal immigaration into the U.S.A., is very important and topical. T.C. Boyle decided to through light on the two different positions by telling the story not just in the view of an American or a Mexican but also in the view of the other party. Considered literarily, it is very elaborate that Boyle knots together the two stories by letting the main characters meet each other.


Chapter 2 

The second chapter is written from Cándido’s point of view. Because of the accident, Cándido has to suffer terrible pain .He got hit when he came back from the labour exchange to get to work. He collapses on the way back to his camp. Ameríca finds Cándido lying on the ground on her way back from to the camp. She also tried to get work somewhere. At first she does not realize that her husband is badly injured but then she understands that they are in trouble now.
She carries him back to their camp and takes care of him as good as possible.
She is very upset that she can´t call a doctor because they are in the camp illegally.
One day, when Cándido is still very weak, Ameríca wants to go and get work.
It hurts Cándido deep inside that he isn’t able to feed his wife, and he wants to go himself, but he is still much too weak. However both his pride and his fear don’t allow it to let her go either. América reminds him of his promises about the good life and of their dreams of an own apartment they should have.
This hurts him even more and finally he gives in and lets her go.

Chapter 3

The third chapter describes the daily life of the Mossbacher´s. But the idyllic situation is disturbed when a coyote roams around their garden and finally grapes one of their family dogs.
Delaney and Kyra are very outraged and tie to chase the coyote away but the coyote still has one of their dogs. When Kyra comes back from work in the afternoon she hears that her dog is dead.
Delaney goes do a meeting of the community on this very afternoon. They will discuss whether there should their district should be walled in or not. Many inhabitants fear that the immigrants may hang around in there district. But Delaney is not interested in this discussion. He simply wants to solve his own “coyote-problem”. Immediately he has to notice that nobody cares about his request. When Delaney leaves the meeting he meets the son of the president of the meeting. He talks with him about the accident and it for him it feels really good that the son says, that the accident wasn´t his fault but he also notices and wonders about why the boy is so interested in the details of the accident.

Chapter 4-8


Cándido has to accept that Ámérica is the chief breadwinner of the two now because he is unable to work .His injuries don´t heal that quick. But he feels very uncomfortable by the circumstance that Améica has to earn the money. Finally he accepts it well-knowing that there is no other possibility for them. They can´t starve anymore, even not the unborn baby.

While América finds work, Cándido is confronted with the racial attitude of two American teenagers. They destroy their camp very brutally. All the time América is working, Cándido is very concerned about her. América works the whole day very hard and under bad conditions. She has to clean the house of a rich white man who is living in the same district where also Delaney lives with his family. But for the very first time she earns money and that makes her very proud. Now she and Candido can buy food. The next day, she has the opportunity to work at the same house for the second time. But on her way home she gets raped brutally by two men who leave her where she is.

During the same days, Delaney and Kyra live their everyday life. One day, Delaney discusses the problems the illegal immigrants cause in their direct neighbourhood with a neighbour and his son. At that time Delaney defends the immigrants against the strong reproaches. The very next day, Delaney decides to go on a hike. While he is working through the canyon, he discovers a camp of illegal immigrants. He reacts very outraged and is disgusted because they destroyed the whole nature by their rubbish. On his way home, he has to realize that his car is stolen which makes him even angrier considering the immigrants.

 The first part of the book has the function to describe the situation of both families very precisely. You also can notice some differences of the two families concerning not only the economic situation but also mindset. For example it is completely normally for Delaney that his wife is the chief breadwinner while it is very hard for Cándido to accept that his wife has to earn the money.

You also can notice a change in the attitude of Delaney concerning the illegal immigrants. He gets more and more angry towards their existence in his close neighbourhood and their way of life.

In the first part, I really liked the change of the stories. Every chapter treats just one of the two stories and the change of the chapters often includes a direct unknown meeting of the two men.


Summary of  the second part-El Tenksgeevee


Delaney just got his new car and meets Kyra for lunch in a Mexican restaurant. Kyra is in a hurry and has to leave very early. When they walk to their car, Kyra notices a dog being locked in a car. She is very scandalized about that and wants to search the owner f the car. When she finds him, she grouses at him but the man doesn`t “give a fuck”.This makes her even more angry and Delaney tries to calm her down. Before Kyra has to drive to work, she controls the building of the wall around her district. Later Kyra is directly confronted with supposed illegal immigrants and she reacts with fear.

In the third chapter everything seems in its old habits again. Delaney does not care about the theft of his car anymore and his wife, Kyra, just does her normal office work again. The Mossbachers’ have settled back to normal, and they leave the awful things that have happened behind, like the accident, Sachverell’s death and the stealing of their car. One evening, Kyra and her husband start a discussion about the daily presence of the immigrants. While Kyra thinks they should have no right to hang around in their district looking for jobs, Delaney mentions that it is their right to move freely in the United States. But Kyra adds that just so many Mexicans have come in the last years and Delaney seems to have no more arguments anymore. Then Delaney remembers when he accompanied Jack last night hanging around with some men of their district.  They all had drinks at the bar and started a conversation about Mexican immigration issue. They talked about how more and more Mexicans get into the community and steal American jobs. After a while Delaney felt that Jack has just taken him there to get him on his team. He finally realized what the meeting is all about. The purpose of the gathering is to make plans to wall the place in. They went on with the conversation, talking about how unsafe it would be to live there now that the immigration rate increases. They even mentioned about closing the labor exchange.


 While Cándido drives to his new work place, he remembers his first time as an illegal worker in the United States, his escape from the police and his meeting a farmer ready to help him with food and a blanket, thus enabling him to take a bus ride to his cousin’s place and to escape immigration authorities. Cándido is a worker who builds the wall around Arroyo Blanco and he of course realises why this wall has to be build but does not care. He knows he will never live in such a rich district. Later that day, when he comes home from work, he discovers that América has been violated by an Indian and a Mexican. After three weeks of filling in for a sick man, Cándido has made about 300 dollars. From then on he is once again unemployed. Out of his desperation he slaps América once again well knowing that she is not the reason for his hopeless situation.When Cándido gets up early the next morning he has to see that the labor exchange is closed. He realizes immediately that they can´t live here anymore and so he decides to leave the place and go somewhere else. He also thinks of suicide but he is aware of his importance for the life of América and his son so he rejects these thoughts. When Candido and América arrive CANOGA PARK after a exhausting hike the next day, América has new draws new hope for the first time since they were living in the nasty camp. Everywhere she hears people speaking Spanish and there are lots of Mexican shops so she thinks that they can make it, too. When Cándido takes Amérca out for lunch she is really very happy. But the disillusionment comes soon. They also get no job here and find no place to sleep although América would have given everything to take a shower. Suddenly a America man speaks to Cándido in Spanish and offers the two a rather cheap sleeping place for two nights. Cándido follows him while América has to wait.


In his weekly collum Delaney writes about the existence of the Coyote. The main meeage of the text is, that you can´t stop them killing and destroying but that you have to protect yourself against this wild animal.

In the second part of the book the differences between the two families couldn´t be clearer. While Delaney and his family have no essential fears, Delaney and América have to suffer under bad living conditions, have to hide all the time and become hopeless. The attitude of the Mossbacher´s has huge influence on the life of the Rincons.

1.       When Delaney discusses about the closing of the labour exchange, this is the main reason for the Rincons to move away.

2.       With the building of the wall it is Cándido who finds work

3.       The increasing intolerance of the inhabitants of Arroyo Blanco makes life for the illegal immigrants more and more difficult

The fears and requests of the Mossbachers seem invalid in comparison to the problems of the Rincons. It is exciting to think about how the Mossbacher family would react if they would know what life means to América and Cándido and which influence they have on them.

The collum of Delaney about the coyotes is in my eyes closely linked with the presence of the illegal immigrants. I can´t get rid of the feeling that Delaney has a deep racial attitude and I wonder wether thisattitude might become obvious and how this might happen.

Literary you can notice that there are always used Spanish words to make the background and the feeling of Cándido and América even clearer.


Chapter 6

While Kyra is favour of building the wall, Delaney hesitates. Because of their arguments, Kyra decides to sleep in another room. Kyra feels really uncomfortable because the last happenings. She can´t get over the loss of her two dogs and fears to be attacked from the two Mexicans she met on the ground of “Da Rose”. When she is on her walk around the house to check on everything she discovers spray-painted letters which say “Pinche Puta. “  Delaney notices a Mexican driving through the district. He stops him and asks him what he wants there. The Mexican is answering that he just delivers flyers.The next day Delaney accompanies Kyra to lock the house and in the end they buy the last things for Thanksgiving.


The man leads Cándido into a side street where two other men await them. They attack Cándido with a baseball bat and steal all of Cándido’s and América’s money. América waits for him for hours before he returns in the middle of the night. Now that they have absolutely no money, they must return to their campground the very same day. On their way back, América is shocked when Cándido looks through the garbage of a fast food restaurant to find something to eat.

Chapter 8

While Delaney does not find a new topic for his column and Kyra gives him a nice present, América doesn´t speak a word to Cándido any more. She is totally shocked. She even does not care about Cándido having earned the $500. One day, Cándido goes to the supermarket to buy some things, also for Thanksgiving; two boys give him a free turkey. He is happy about this, goes home and starts a fire to roast the turkey. The fire gets out of control, and in the hot weather the whole canyon is soon in flames

In my eyes the story of the Mossbachers is a little bit boring and too detailed. I think the relationship between América and Cándido is becoming really interesting. How long is América willing to stay in this camp again? Will they still live together? What is about their children? Do they succeed anytime? What will be the consequences of the fire in the canyon?

While the language in the chapters of the story of the Rincons is easy to read, I have some difficulties by reading the story of Delaney and Kyra. There are used many words I never heard of ,but it´s not a real problem to get the sense of the plot.

To build a wall around ones district-is this really possible in the United States? The ones who are so proud of their liberty and who either don´t accept a health insurance because it violates the personal freedom? Isn´t such a plan unconstitutional? Who can decide something like that?

Yet I can´t get the sense of the three parts of the book. Why did T.C. Boyle divide the book into these parts?



Summary of the third part-Socorro

Chapter 1

Dominick Flood, a neighbor of the Moosbachers, is having a Thanksgiving party. Delaney, Kyra and her mother are also invited. At the party, Delaney is talking with Jack about the column about coyotes Delaney has published those days. Soon they change subject and talk again about the wall which will be build around the district. Jack tries to convince Delaney that the built of the wall will make living there safer but Delaney remains skeptical. Later Kyra joins the conversation and makes clear that she is in favor of the wall. This is the reason for an argument between Delaney and his wife. But then somebody notices that the whole canyon is burning. All the guests are shocked and leave the party to go home. Also Kyra, Delaney and his mother-in-law are leaving because Jordan is alone at their home with his nanny. When they arrive at their house, the first thing they do is watching the news. Although the reporter does not mention the necessarily to evacuate the Mossbachers are thinking about that.

Chapter 2

América misses civilization. She hates Cándido because he has made her come to the U.S. and live like an animal there.

But when Candido arrives with a turkey she can´t be angry anymore. But the Candido loses the control about the fire and soon nearly the whole canyon is burning.

 They have to escape from that place and leave all their goods behind. Both are in big fear for their life. For América it is soon too hard to run because her baby is about to arrive. They shelter near a wall. They can´t get any help because Candido does not want the police to arrest him because of the fire. The fire is still dangerous because the wind changes direction all the time and so they still fear for it.

Chapter 3

The police asks the inhabitants of Arroyo Blanco to evacuate. The families have got ten minutes to pack their belongings. In the chaos Kyra and Delaney start another argument and Kyra leaves to go home while Delaney meets Jack. Jack offers Delaney a sip of his bottle. Soon Delaney is slightly drunk.  They notice two Mexicans come up the way to shelter in the district and Delaney recognizes one of the men. He met this man when he was hiking. Immediately he wants to inform a police officer but the officer is already take the Mexicans to task. The arrival of the two Mexicans attracts the attention of many onlookers. Loudly, Delaney blames the two Mexican campers for starting the fire. Jack supports him in his accusing. Soon the whole crowd insults the two Mexicans and Delaney is attacking one of the two by hitting him with his fists. He is so outraged and angry that he can´t control him anymore. The Mexican tries to defend himself. The police have to stop the angry crowd from attacking the Latinos. The following day everybody is allowed to return to their homes after having spent the night in hotels or in their cars. Back home there is still a tense atmosphere between Kyra and Delaney, and they still argue. Jordan is searching for his cat but he can´t find it what makes him very upset.

Chapter 4

A cat comes to the place where Amériva is lying. The presence of the cat helps América a lot to relax. Then the moment has come. América brings her daughter into the world. Although Candido is at first disappointed that it is a girl, both are very happy that Socorro, the name América gave to her, is healthy and everything worked out. América is that much tiered that she is going to sleep immediately. But Candido can´t sleep. He will take advantage of the situation that all houses are empty because the inhabitants evacuated this night. He climbs in their gardens to organize some vegetables and blankets for América. He himself eats dog food which he takes out of a dog house. From a garden shed Cándido also steals some wooden pallets and some other things he needs for building a shack for his family. But then the inhabitants are coming back. Candido fears for his life but he manages it to come back to América. But they have to camp another place because the old one isn´t safe anymore. But Américadoes not want to move anymore, she wants to return to her mother and show her the baby. She is fed up with having to live like an animal in the US.

These 4 chapters were really exciting.

 Delaney´s racial attitude became obvious and he can´t control his feelings anymore. But in the mean time he fails as the perfect husband. For him it’s clear that a Mexican is responsible for the fire which at least is right but he accuses the first Mexican he sees to be responsible for it. Delaney also does not care about the nanny of his son who is Hispanic.

Now the perfect world of the inhabitants of Arroyo Blanco is in danger because of the illegal immigrants and they are powerless against it. They have to evacuate and there is no other way.

For me the cat has a very interesting role. She did not evacuate with the Mossbachers but went to América and made her relax. For me it is one the one hand a literary sign of the perfect knotting of the two stories but on the other hand it could be seen as if the cat has changed sides and is now on the side of the Rincons. So maybe the cat has a moral aspect.

You can understand América very well when she says that she wants to return o Mexico. I wonder why Candido can´t accept that he failed in his plan to succeed in America or whether he will…

I feel with América and for the baby the whole time. In my eyes, América is the most sympathetic but also helpless character in the whole book.

How long will it take that the police will know that Candido is responsible for the fire?

 And what will be the consequence?

Will there be a second direct meeting of Delamey and Candido?

And if yes, what does it cause?

These are questions which I hope will become clear in the last 4 chapters.




Chapter 5

Kyra drives to the Da Ros place to see what the fire may have done to it. She is really shocked by the fact that nearly nothing is left of it. It will be hard for her to sell the property. She is convinced that Mexicans are responsible for the fire, although there is no real proof. Kyra calls Darlene and complains about what has happened.

Delaney arrives at Da Ros and tries to console Kyra. Both have a walk and search for the cat which is still missing. They meet Jack and he takes them to the wall around the development. During the car ride he talks about Dominick Flood who has left the country. On the wall there are large graffiti insults in Spanish. They all get angry about the Mexicans, and their anger turns into hate.

A month later Delaney decides to guard the wall because the police and the hired guard aren’t effective enough. Kyra doesn’t like Delaney’s idea; she worries about him. Delaney is on guard every night, and he is so much engaged that he forgets about his other duties. There is just one night he does not guard the wall because he takes Kyra to dinner and to the movies. At that night his surveillance camera takes a picture, and when he checks the pictures he sees a Mexican’s face. It is the face of the man involved in the accident in the mountains.

Chapter 6

Candido goes back to the camp to search for the money they left there, but the fire destroyed it. On the way home, Cándido is full of self-pity. América fears for Socorro because she noticed that her baby is blind. She wants to see a doctor but Cándido says this is impossible because they have no money. Cándido tries to find work, but he is not very successful, since he is afraid of being caught. Trying to find work, Cándido happens to meet Delaney again whom he remembers from the accident.

Chapter 7

Delaney is on the way home when he sees the Mexican he hit weeks ago. In the meantime he can´t control his hate and racism anymore. He obsessed with the taught that this Mexican destroys his life systematically. He breaks without warning and causes an accident. But that doesn´t matter to him. He gets off the car, calls the police and wants to “catch” Cándido. Furthermore, the policeman arriving does not care about him. So Delaney decides to follow the Mexican’s footprints to find him. He follows the footprints up to Arroyo Blanco Drive where they turn into the road. Delaney is not surprised about that because of the Spanish-looking graffiti and everything that has happened there. He gets angry about it and ideas of Cándido’s death in the car accident come to his mind. He also things that it is Cándidos strategy  to let himself hit by cars to earn some money Delaney is determined to find Cándido although it rains and its getting dark.. He walks home to pick up his gun, purchased together with Jack and of which he has always been afraid. He walks over to Jack’s place to develop the pictures of graffiti-spraying people. When he recognizes that Jack Jr. is the sprayer, he almost stops his plan of trying to find the Mexican, but he changes his mind quickly. His anger is so big that he can´t think rationally anymore. He just wants to catch Candido although, considered objectively, there is no urgent reason anymore.  So he doesn´t give up the plan to find the Mexican that night and he is finding the right track.

Last Chapter/ Chapter 8

Cándido returns to the camp to tell América about his meeting Delaney. Evidently, Cándido is really shocked.

With a gun in his hands, Delaney follows Cándido to the Mexican’s shack. He sees that the house is built of material stolen from his premises when a flash flood rushes down from the mountains and washes the shack, its inhabitants and Delaney away. Cándido and América try to surf on pallets towards Topanga Creek, are sucked under water and can finally save themselves on the roof of a building where they realize that they have lost their daughter. But Cándido notices a white hand in the midst of the water and he grabs it…



 I can´t understand Delaney. In the first chapters I thought he was a really normal, handsome, smart and likeable guy but he turned into a racial, fanatic, stupid, unpleasant and egoistic person who isn´t able to think objectively anymore.

However Cándido changed in my eyes from a very egoistic to a person who cares about others, not only his family but in the end also his enemy.  At the second sigh the character of Cándido is really very lovely.

I liked the book pretty much, although the end made me really down. The only character that had really not to blame for the whole situation had to die, well, life is just unfair. It’s not that easy to clap the book shut and forget about the significance. The problem of illegal immigrants is really serious. The situation for them in the U.S.A. is not humane. But could be done? The economic situation in Mexico is really dreadful and many people see no other way than try to realize the American dream in the United States. Of course it is impossible for the U.S.A. to accommodate all the immigrants but maybe the signal the United States send is not the right one. The myth of the American dream plays such an enormous role that immigrants make themselves the wrong hopes.

It is inconceivable under what conditions other people have to life. In this book I think the opposite of the two different lifestyles become very clear and it makes you think about your problems, maybe they are such invalid like the ones of Delaney…

The book is a bit “long-winded” but it’s really worth reading!

Now I have to say sorry to all of you who had to struggle to read that much, but it wasn´t easy to summarize the plot.  The two stories are that much connected, I could not leave things out because than it would have been illogical and  incomprehensible for you. Forgive me for being such detailled…


Reasons why YOU should read the book…

1.)    T.C. Boyle is one of the most important authors of America

2.)    You can emotionally identify with the illegal immigrants in America

3.)    In today´s society immigration is an inevitable topic

4.)    The change of perspectives gives you even a deeper insight in the story

5.)    If you like dramatic but also promising endings…

I hope you enjoyed my blog…

Yours Verena