The Barbarian Nurseries (Hardback)Hector Tobar (author)
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The morning after the fight, Maureen Torres-Thompson picked up the baby and left.
She ran her beautiful home in a gated community just outside LA like the disciplined mid-level corporate executive she had once been. She often thought that the only thing she could say with certainty she wanted, was to bring goodness and beauty to the life of her family. And now Scott was telling her they were broke. If they could no longer afford a gardener, it had seemed sensible to replace the high-maintenance la petite rainforest with an architecturally interesting cactus garden. Inevitably that had required some initial outlay. They had a fight. Scott left too.
When Scott and Maureen finally return home, the children have gone. Shocked at their own behaviour and terrified by what people will think of them they do what any right-minded middle-class parents would do. They lie. And accuse the maid.
As a national media circus explodes over the 'abduction', carefully constructed lives begin to fall apart. In a city divided between a wealthy privileged class and a rising immigrant population, every organization from the broken criminal justice system to the social services has a reason for wanting the story to end a certain way.
A compelling portrait of our time, THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES questions how far we'll go to protect our ambitions, our liberty and our family.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 702 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 38 mm
'Dazzling . . . This book will establish Tobar as an important writer.' * Thomas Keneally on The Tattooed Soldier *
'Tobar's exploration of I he wide chasm between, the city of Angel's wealthiest residents and the downtrodden immigrants who service them is authentic and descriptive... For real insight into the other L.A. - the one that exists far from Hollywood's glitzy carpets - you can't beat this impressive novel.' * Madison *
'A big, insightful novel.' * New York Times, Notable Books of 2011 *
'The Pulitzer winning newspaper journalist knows his way around a hot topic. This page-turner examines the economic and racial divides that still exist in sunny Southern California - so there's a message in the thrilling tale.' * SHOP til you drop *
The scope and cracking pace of Bonfire of the Vanities * Bookseller *
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 BARBARIAN NURSERIES is a huge novel of this century, as sprawling and exciting as Los Angeles itself, one that tracks a Mexican immigrant maid not only as static decor in 'real' America's economic rise and fall. Like yard workers and cooks, construction laborers and seamstresses, Tobar's Araceli has flesh, brains, dreams, ambition, history, culture, voice: a rich, generous life. 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 *
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 *
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 *
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 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 *
. . . 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 *
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“Tried Too Hard”
Somewhere, nestling between the covers of The Barbarian Nurseries, is a good story. However, somewhere along the way, possibly before pen was put to paper, there was a decision to cram in lots of elements that don’t... More
“Not what I expected”
The Barbarian Nurseries was not quite as I expected. The synopsis to me portrayed much more emphasis on the mystery behind the 'abduction' of two American children from the home of a gated community and why... More
I found this book easy to get on with, and a good read. I often struggle to see what relevance American fiction has to non-Americans, and to begin with I was expecting something distant that failed to engage. However,... More
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