Fredsky's Reviews > The Barbarian Nurseries

The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar
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Oct 12, 11

Read in October, 2011

I loved reading this book. Being in California, even Southern California, is always a great relief. This tells the story of a Mexican housekeeper and the wealthy but faltering North American family that she keeps. And their house. She keeps their house as well. When the novel opens, the gardener has just been let go and the nanny has refused a pay cut and quit. Araceli, a character of great originality and intelligence, remains with the family but refuses to act as nanny. The mother is now forced to spend more time with her two young boys as well as with her daughter, a toddler. The father, who is worried about his stock portfolio, and the mother, who is overwhelmed and terrified of losing control of her family, have a nasty fight. The next morning, Araceli goes in to make breakfast and no one is home but the two boys. Araceli takes it from there.

There is a lot going on in this book besides the journeys they all take. The tone is warm, humorous, and sly. Tobar conveys the cultural confusion that accompanies underclass and overclass, particularly when immigrants are involved. The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is that at times I got bogged down in the politics. It's a fine book and a great read.
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I saw a review of this book recently and thought it would be one I would enjoy!


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