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Download The Barbarian Nurseries Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Barbarian Nurseries (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Hector Tobar
3.0016077170418 out of 53.0016077170418 out of 53.0016077170418 out of 53.0016077170418 out of 53.0016077170418 out of 5 3.00 (1,244 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hector Tobar Narrator: Frankie J. Alvarez Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN:
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The great panoramic social novel that Los Angeles deserves - a 21st-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 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 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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalie Sansores | 2/18/2014

    " Great book, great story line, interesting thoughts on live in help and how much do you REALLY know about them? This was a book I couldn't put down and couldn't wait to pick back up again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nomi | 2/17/2014

    " Very well done. An undocumented Mexican nanny and her wealthy employers in Southern Cal. A misunderstanding/miscommunication creates a media event that momentarily divides the public----until the next catastrophe gets broadcasted. Tobar does an excellent job of giving us all the characters' perspectives. A great critique of the undocumented domestics situation with regard to gender, race, and socioeconomics without coming off as preachy. Very smart. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 1/23/2014

    " The author was angry, every character was angry, and I got angry reading this book. But I'm sure my book club discussion will be great! And to paraphrase Emperor Joseph II to Mozart re: The Marriage of Figaro....."too many words!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy L | 1/23/2014

    " This is similar to Tortilla Curtain -- about Southern California and the great divides that make the place what it is. Everyone should read this book. Well written - the author knows Los Angeles and areas around, as well as the people and politics of the area. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Lesyshen | 1/16/2014

    " I thought this book was thought provoking and so well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brooke | 1/6/2014

    " It took me quite awhile to get into this book. Writing was good but a bit slow. It tells the story of Araceli, housekeeper to the Torres family of Orange County. She prides herself on keeping their mansion impeccable. The private school tuitions, household help, landscaping costs, etc are catching up with the Torres family so they let some of their help go. Mother Maureen is beginning to feel the "stress of it all" with only one employee remaining, the somewhat stern Araceli who does not really like kids. Unfortunately, now, part of her duties include their child care. After a domestic violence incident, Maureen flees to a spa with only baby Samantha. Araceli is unaware she has been left with the children. Father Scott disappears for the weekend as well assuming Maureen has the kids. Araceli is shocked to be left in charge of these two tween boys. After a few days with no one answering their cell phones and food running low, Araceli decides to take the boys to LA via bus in search of their grandfather using a decades old address on a photo. The boys are dumbfounded by the world outside the confines of their gated community. The story unravels into a battle over immigration and its legal issues and this was when I found it more interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristina Harper | 12/29/2013

    " I loved this book -- it absolutely captures the essence of Los Angeles and the immigrant experience, from both sides: the undocumented domestic worker and the family that employs her without ever really seeing her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 10/22/2013

    " The story was interesting and you kept wondering how things would be resolved. However, I never felt connected to any character. You needed to feel vested. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn | 10/17/2013

    " I wish I had obeyed the several impulses I had to give up on this book rather than finish it. The story describes, fairly accurately IMO, typical relationships between Latinos and Anglos in Southern California. No surprises here for anyone who has lived there for any length of time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 10/10/2013

    " I liked most of the book, but the last third of it really dragged. Also, there were some characters that were introduced that were really not necessary to the story and were never really fully developed. I really liked the concept of this book, but the actual book was just ok. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art | 7/17/2013

    " If people would just spend time being social animals this fiction wouldn't reflect real life so much. Just saying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linnet | 10/23/2012

    " LA . . . and the divide between the haves (Maureen and Scott) and their Mexican housekeeper, Ariceli. She speaks little English and doesn't know what to do when Maureen and Scott fight, leave for days, and say nothing to her. What should she do with the two little boys left in her care? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deidre Link | 9/17/2012

    " This was a beautifully written book about the culture in Los Angeles. I loved the varying viewpoints; it almost reminded me of the movie Crash, with the intertwining characters and storylines. And it came complete with a fabulous ending too! Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenna | 8/16/2012

    " Reading this book was like anticipating, and then witnessing, a very slow-moving train accident, if it were possible for there to be a darkly comic train accident. I couldn't put it down. Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trish Stanczyk | 7/31/2012

    " What an interesting read on perspectives. I really loved it, if only the author would have shortened all of the perspectives he shared with us. He took us on so many journeys of the mind that the book became taxing at times. But loved the way he was able to paint a picture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 6/12/2012

    " Loved learning each character's motivations. Loved the weaving in of the Spanish language and the diversity of the "latino" experience. Loved the somewhat unlikeable heroine. Loved that the story takes a turn for the unfair but not so unfair that you can't stand it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 6/3/2012

    " I just couldn't finish this book. Very little redeeming qualities. Would not recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 6/2/2012

    " A social novel that straddles the line between telling a narrow story, and trying to capture modern Southern California. Araceli is a compelling main character, one we learn more about just as the people in her life do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rose Chavira | 1/16/2012

    " I read and listened to Hector Tobar's novel and loved both experiences. It’s a novel that breathes new energy and insight into a now common Hollywood archetype—the Latina nanny. Beautiful prose, poignant message… "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 11/7/2011

    " This was a riveting book. As the New york Times said "A Bonfire of the Vanities for California "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 10/30/2011

    " Listened to this on cd while driving. It passed the time and definitely was well read. The story didn't hook me until halfway throu though. However, I am glad we finished it - it was worth all 16 hours of listening in the long run! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pjgould | 10/18/2011

    " interesting plot - too much peripheral info for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeanette | 8/24/2011

    " It took me nearly six weeks to get through this lardful lump of language. I will write a review eventually, but right now I'm just glad it's over. For all its length and complexity, it ultimately ends up not really saying anything at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 8/14/2011

    " This is similar to Tortilla Curtain -- about Southern California and the great divides that make the place what it is. Everyone should read this book. Well written - the author knows Los Angeles and areas around, as well as the people and politics of the area. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mrs. | 8/9/2011

    " Tobar's engaging novel explores the racial tensions and class divides in L.A. and is both current and well-written. Tobar gives Franzen a run for his money!
    --Review by Lauren "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 8/8/2011

    " Tobar's engaging novel explores the racial tensions and class divides in L.A. and is both current and well-written. Tobar gives Franzen a run for his money! "

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