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The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar


The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar

Araceli is the live-in maid in the Torres-Thompson household, just outside Los Angeles. One morning, she wakes to an empty house - except for the two sons, little aliens she's never had to interact with before. Not knowing what else to do, she decides to track down their grandfather. It will be an adventure, she tells the boys. If she only knew . . .When Scott and Maureen return to find the children gone, they do what any right-minded middle class parents would: they panic. Caught in a spiral of guilt, they say things that aren't quite true - and when Araceli is accused of abduction, a national media circus explodes and carefully constructed lives begin to fall apart. THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES is a compelling portrait of our time, which questions how far we will go to protect our ambitions, our liberty and our family.


THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES is a huge novel of this century, as sprawling and exciting as Los Angeles itself . . . A story that was demanded, we can celebrate that it is now here. * Dagoberto Gilb, author of Before The End, After The Beginning and The Flowers * Hector Tobar's novel is astonishing, like a many-layered mural on a long wall in Los Angeles, a tapestry of people and neighborhoods and stories. A vivid testament to Southern California as the world. Araceli is so unexpected and unique; she's a character America needs to see, and this novel takes her on a journey America needs to understand. * Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon * Hector Tobar's THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES is that rare novel that redefines a city. It has the necessary vital sweep of culture and class that brings a city to life, but its power lies in Tobar's ability to persuasively change the perspective from which the Los Angeles of the present - and by extension, the United States - is seen. This book confirms the promise of Tobar's debut novel, The Tattooed Soldier. * Stuart Dybek, author of I Sailed with Magellan and The Coast of Chicago * ' . . . what follows is as pacy and informative about the states of America as you would expect from a journalist who won a Pulitzer for coverage of the LA riots . . . Tobar is in total control of his material . . .' * Independent * The predicament of the recession-hit middle classes as they hastily rearrange their priorities has provided a rich seam for fiction writers in recent years, and Pulitzer-winning journalist Tobar's latest is a fine example of the genre. * Daily Mail * This book is beautifully written . . . it provides a fascinating portrait of mutual misunderstanding, of the life led by California's unprotected underclass, and of the American citizens who are wholly dependent on the illegal immigrants who service them. * Literary Review * The scope and cracking pace of Bonfire of the Vanities * Bookseller * This is Araceli's story, and THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES is a novel that is entirely dependent on our relationship with her. Mercifully, she makes the journey worth our while. Referred to as Madame Weirdness by her employers, she is as inscrutable in the workplace as she is fiery out of it. As hypnotic as she is observant and as sympathetic as she is frosty, she is a diamond of a character. * Independent on Sunday * Tobar's second novel energetically explores America's hidden seam of racial discord . . . His take on southern California's complex social and ethnic strata is the strongest element of THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES . . . Not surprisingly he also displays an insider's knowledge of the media. * Guardian * Avoiding the usual cliches, Tobar portrays his characters inner lives in nuanced detail . . . Tobar's hard-hitting novel drills deep into LA's hidden social and racial strata, and explores what happens when these carefully constructed lives implode. * Independent * Hector Tobar's THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES is a virtuosic and hard-hitting novel about social schism in Southern California. He combines a broad and bitter social vision with exuberant attention to details. Tobar exposes disturbing and enlightening ironies about the perpetuation of both privilege and social disadvantage. * TLS * A book of extraordinary scope and extraordinary power. * L A Times *

About the Author

Hector Tobar is the former Buenos Aires and Mexico City Bureau Chief for the LA Times and shared a Pulitzer for the paper's coverage of the 1992 riots.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st June 2012


Hector Tobar

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Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


432 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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