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The Barbarian Nurseries
by Hector Tobar

Published: 2011-09-27
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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, Hector Tobar gives ...
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Introduction

[This is the MP3CD audiobook format.]

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, Hector 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 LA 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 Senor 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.

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Has this book changed your mind in any way about the immigration issues facting America today?
What did you think about Aracelli's attitude toward America?
What did you think about the way Aracelli was treated in the Torres-Thompson home?
by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/27/13

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  "The Barbarian Nurseries, Hector Tobar"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/27/13

When I turned the last page I had to stop and think, what is this book really about? I decided it was about three things: freedom, justice, and immigration. It is about the freedom to move a... (read more)

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