The Barbarian Nurseries

The Barbarian Nurseries

by Héctor Tobar
4.1 36

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Overview

The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar

The great panoramic social novel that Los Angeles deserves—a twenty-first century, West Coast Bonfire of the Vanities by the only writer qualified to capture the city in all its glory and complexity

With The Barbarian Nurseries, Héctor Tobar gives our most misunderstood metropolis its great contemporary novel, taking us beyond the glimmer of Hollywood and deeper than camera-ready crime stories to reveal Southern California life as it really is, across its vast, sunshiny sprawl of classes, languages, dreams, and ambitions.

Araceli is the live-in maid in the Torres-Thompson household—one of three Mexican employees in a Spanish-style house with lovely views of the Pacific. She has been responsible strictly for the cooking and cleaning, but the recession has hit, and suddenly Araceli is the last Mexican standing—unless you count Scott Torres, though you’d never suspect he was half Mexican but for his last name and an old family photo with central L.A. in the background. The financial pressure is causing the kind of fights that even Araceli knows the children shouldn’t hear, and then one morning, after a particularly dramatic fight, Araceli wakes to an empty house—except for the two Torres-Thompson boys, little aliens she’s never had to interact with before. Their parents are unreachable, and the only family member she knows of is Señor Torres, the subject of that old family photo. So she does the only thing she can think of and heads to the bus stop to seek out their grandfather. It will be an adventure, she tells the boys. If she only knew . . .

With a precise eye for the telling detail and an unerring way with character, soaring brilliantly and seamlessly among a panorama of viewpoints, Tobar calls on all of his experience—as a novelist, a father, a journalist, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, and a native Angeleno—to deliver a novel as broad, as essential, as alive as the city itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374708931
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 297,674
File size: 508 KB

About the Author

Héctor Tobar, now a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and a novelist. He is the author of Translation Nation and The Tattooed Soldier. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of the city of Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and three children.

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The Barbarian Nurseries 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
pacjr More than 1 year ago
Read the first paragraph. It is one of the many gems found throughout the book. However, if meaty prose like that isn't your thing, then you may be disappointed. (One goodreads reviewer referred to it as a "lardful lump of language.") I love to read paragraphs like that aloud and let them roll around my mouth like a full bodied red wine with a long finish. It's not intended to be a thriller and it's not about fast paced action. (I was quite surprised when I read comments showing that these were the reader's expectations of the book.) It's about family, materialism, immigration, "success", the mainstream media, our justice system, etc. In other words, it's social and cultural commentary and the author deftly skewers just about everybody and every point of view. I found it to be thought provoking. Especially since I was born in Los Angeles, but have lived in northern California for most of my life; and because I am also of mixed European and Hispanic descent, but without a Hispanic surname.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good novel showing how relationships develop and sometimeds falter due to lack of communication. Very timely and relevant to many family situations. Detailed development of characters that at times is quite humorous!
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
LOVED IT/ This book was recommended to me by my cousin, so glad I took his advise. Because I was raised in Santa Ana, CA this story held my interest, loved the end too, I cheered for Araceli!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book that tells the story of Mexican immigrants from their point of view. It is also about a family living the "American Dream" which turns out not to be as good as they thought it would be. I recommend it highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is extremely refreshing to read a book that causes us to think through the deeper issues related to racism, economic status, and power. This novel has a depth that more fiction needs to have. Reading shouldn't just be for entertainment, but for enlightenment too.
bookwormcf More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!
grandmapenny More than 1 year ago
This was a really fascinating and enjoyable story.  Loved the voice of Araceli but was so impressed by how the author could empathize and create the tone and speech of all the other characters.  A lovely ride of a story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. The depiction of personal and work dynamics and ambitions, interlocked with politics, sharp observations, immigration and racial policies, written with wit, deep penetration into human consiousness and motivations, salted with satir and humor and spiced with suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Part Bonfire of the Vanities, part Tortilla Flats, with some great insights into the perspectives of the varied layers of modern social hierarchy and the failure of understanding between them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Idk but i think im expecting i ate like eighty four mice and a squirrel big enough for five cats and im still hungry. Either im expecting or i have a tapeworm or something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bm . Nkjsdjd x9 82uwhru.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An unusual golden spotted kit came in, mewling. Another full grown she carried the kit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The cream shecat pads in. "My name is Farrah and l used to own 2 orphanages. May l help with advertising and adopting and kits?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The time of Bloodclan is over.Now the time of Boneclan has just begun!!!Join at meow result five.(P.S. Bring Screechkit)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am Sparklefire's mate. I have been..... following her around to find out where the fortune is. *Walks up to a cat*. Where is it? Where is the fortune? If you don't tell me, I will destroy the camp! RAWR!.... By the way, my name is... *dramatically pauses*.... Shadowblaze the Amazing Cat Who Needs the Fortune to be Even More Amazing... If That is Even Possible (I Already Am Way Amazing).... But... I guess you can call me Shadowblaze. TELL ME WHERE THE FORTUNE IS! RAAAAWWWWWR!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Help please! I'm having kits! It feels like 2 dozen! My mate abandoned me, and I've been wondering the forest for 2 weeks! *she falls to the floor with a thud*. If I die... Tell my kits the fortune is in the... *dies*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a gross disappointment in many ways. The main character speaks in Spanish most of the time; so as a non spanish speaker I missed much of the interaction. The plot seems poorly thought out. Two examples are: (1) the employers Scott and Maureen are in serious financial difficulty, preparing to downsize to save money but at the end of book are looking to buy a house in South Pasadena in seven figures and (2) there is no definitive ending. This book is for a Spanish speaking reader. I definitely would not read other books by this author or recommend it for book club discussions. As an avid reader, I resent the time wasted reading this book and the money spent buying it.