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The Barbarian Nurseries

A Novel

Héctor Tobar

Picador

Winner of the California Book Award for Fiction
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 
Best Book of the Year Lists
The New York Times Book ReviewLos Angeles Times
San Francisco ChronicleThe Boston Globe

Scott and Maureen Torres-Thompson have always relied on others to run their Orange County home. But when bad investments crater their bank account, it all comes down to Araceli: their somewhat prickly Mexican maid. One night, an argument between the couple turns physical, and a misunderstanding leaves the children in Araceli’s care. Their parents unreachable, she takes them to central Los Angeles in the hopes of finding Scott’s estranged Mexican father---an earnest quest that soon becomes a colossal misadventure, with consequences that ripple through every strata of the sprawling city. Héctor Tobar's The Barbarian Nurseries is a masterful tale of contemporary Los Angeles, a novel as alive as the city itself.
Winner of the California Book Award for Fiction
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
 Best Book of the Year Lists
The New York Times Book ReviewLos Angeles Times
San Francisco ChronicleThe Boston Globe

Scott and Maureen Torres-Thompson have always relied on others to run their Orange County home. But when bad investments crater their bank account, it all comes down to Araceli: their somewhat prickly Mexican maid. One night, an argument between the couple turns physical, and a misunderstanding leaves the children in Araceli’s care. Their parents unreachable, she takes them to central Los Angeles in the hopes of finding Scott’s estranged Mexican father---an earnest quest that soon becomes a colossal misadventure, with consequences that ripple through every strata of the sprawling city. Héctor Tobar's The Barbarian Nurseries is a masterful tale of contemporary Los Angeles, a novel as alive as the city itself.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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THE BARBARIAN NURSERIES (Chapter 1)

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. His exertions produced only a brief flutter of the engine, like the cough of a sick child, and then an extended silence filled by the buzzing of two dragonflies doing figure eights over the uncut St. Augustine grass. The lawn was precocious, ambitious, eight inches tall, and for the moment it could entertain jungle dreams of one day shading the house from the sun. The blades would rise as long as he pulled at the cord and

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REVIEWS

Praise for The Barbarian Nurseries

“A book of extraordinary scope and extraordinary power."—Los Angeles Times
 
"Tobar exhibits a seismographic sensitivity to the tensions along the fault lines of his cultural terrain....His illuminations become our recognitions."—The New York Times Book Review
 
"Both timely and timeless...Tobar continually creates moments of uncommon magic."—Elle
 
"Tobar looks at Los Angeles like Tom Wolfe took on New York in The Bonfire of the Vanities. Race, class, crime, immigration, marriage trouble, and tabloid-ready news stories—it's all here."—New York Post
 
"Each moment surprises....Darkly hilarious and moving."—The Washington Post
 
"That Tobar is so evenhanded, so compassionate, so downright smart, should place The Barbarian Nurseries on everyone's must-read list."—The Seattle Times
“A book of extraordinary scope and extraordinary power."—Los Angeles Times
 
"Tobar exhibits a seismographic sensitivity to the tensions along the fault lines of his cultural terrain....His illuminations become our recognitions."—The New York Times Book Review
 
"Both timely and timeless...Tobar continually creates moments of uncommon magic."—Elle
 
"Tobar looks at Los Angeles like Tom Wolfe took on New York in The Bonfire of the Vanities. Race, class, crime, immigration, marriage trouble, and tabloid-ready news stories—it's all here."—New York Post
 
"Each moment surprises....Darkly hilarious and moving."—The Washington Post
 
"That Tobar is so evenhanded, so compassionate, so downright smart, should place The Barbarian Nurseries on everyone's must-read list."—The Seattle Times

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Héctor Tobar

  • 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.
  • Héctor Tobar © Doug Knutson
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The Barbarian Nurseries

A Novel

Héctor Tobar

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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