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The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar
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's review
Jun 26, 12

bookshelves: book-club, ipad
Read from June 21 to 25, 2012


…and ‘muy auténtico’. This is the real Southern California of recent past. This is who we have been and who we really are.

Be forewarned, though, that the first quarter of ‘The Barbarian Nurseries ’, by Héctor Tobar, is about as exciting as a Tuesday afternoon in the suburbs, and almost as interesting. But, then, after a bit of a 'Keystone Cops'-like-comedy credulity strain, once we’re launched on our train ride to Los Angeles, the pace and tension pick up, and soar.

But for the gated communities of south Orange County, I have personally lived, worked, and/or often walked in, or within close proximity to, most of the neighborhoods mentioned in this book, and can vouchsafe the realness and the accuracy of Mr. Tobar’s portraits of place and people, in this superior novel.

It is the neighborhoods,—downtown Santa Ana; 39th Street and Broadway, Los Angeles; Pacific Boulevard, Huntington Park; Carmenita at Telegraph in South Whittier/Santa Fe Springs—the living, breathing, intense and very real neighborhoods, that come alive under Héctor Tobar's keystrokes, and that make this such an incredible read. It must have been both the journalist and the ‘native-son’ in Tobar that helped him nail the psyche, the politics and the prejudices of our many, varied and interesting, tribes within tribes.

Highly recommended for anyone with any affinity, even a small one, for Southern California.

NOOKbook edition, 418 pages

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