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The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor…

The Barbarian Nurseries

by Héctor Tobar

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Very Tom Wolfe-esque. ( )
  VenusofUrbino | Dec 24, 2013 |
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Refreshing to read this very different, believable type of story. All characters very well developed and I absolutely loved the ending. ( )
  shesinplainview | Aug 22, 2013 |
I didn't finish this but it belongs in "read" more than "abandoned" because I didn't hate it as I do the novels of Joseph Conrad and Henry James, did read beyond the half-way point, and do feel like I got the author's theme, point, and style. It didn't grab me to the points that despite its being for book club, I didn't finish it, and that, after book club filled me in on the rest, I am comfortable with being Done.
  ljhliesl | May 21, 2013 |
Contemporary fiction at its finest. The Barbarian Nurseries depicts one family's marital struggles as they live the American dream and cope with their relationship, parenting, and present-day financial insecurity in L.A. The story has a strong sense of place, but it's not set in the L.A. of movie stars and Disneyland. It's the L.A. where families really live.

Both parents separately decide to take a temporary break, and leave without telling each other, or their maid Araceli, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. As a bewildered Araceli makes one uninformed, but thoughtful decision after another during the parent's absence; the story becomes a real page-turner. I could not put it down until I found out what happened to the kids, and to the parents when they realized what they'd done, and to Araceli once her ordeal was over. ( )
  nancyjune | Jan 23, 2013 |
Long book and if I had been reading it, I don’t know if I would have finished but I’m glad I was listening to it. Commentary on California, immigrants, greed, servants, the American way and many other things. Did Adacelli do the right thing and take the boys to try to find their grandfather? Were the parents to blame or was it all just a mix up that went way to far into the hands of the law? I liked this book a great deal. 4/11/12 ( )
  peggygillman | Oct 12, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This is a novel about Los Angeles, and maybe the finest we’ll see for many years. It is also a novel that triumphantly transcends geography and delivers a stirring look at the borders of our expectations, both great and small.
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Scott Torres was upset because the lawn mower wouldn't start, because no matter how hard he pulled at the cord, it didn't begin to roar.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374108994, Hardcover)

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Boston Globe Best Fiction Book of 2011
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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:51 -0400)

After the husband and wife that she works for disappear, live-in maid Araceli takes their two boys on a journey through sprawling Los Angeles to locate their grandfather.

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