A 21st century Bonfire of the Vanities, set in LA.
Hector Tobar is the son of Guatemalan immigrants and a native of the city of Los Angeles. He is the former Buenos Aires and Mexico City Bureau Chief for the LA Times and shared a Pulitzer for the paper's coverage of the 1992 riots. He is currently an LA-based columnist for the paper. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, THE TATTOOED SOLDIER (Penguin 2000), and an essay collection, TRANSLATION NATION (Riverhead 2005).
'A 1st century Bonfire of the Vanities.' - MiNDFOOD Book of the MonthDazzling . . . This book will establish Tobar as an important writer. - Thomas Keneally on The Tattooed SoldierTobar'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. - MadisonA big, insightful novel. - New York Times, Notable Books of 2011The 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 dropThe scope and cracking pace of Bonfire of the Vanities - BooksellerH?ctor 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
Tobar (The Tattooed Soldier) delivers a riveting, insightful morality tale of conspicuously consuming Americans and their Mexican servants in the O.C. When Maureen's failing tropical garden becomes a source of embarrassment, she charges its four-figure replacement, pushing her and software engineer husband Scott's already-tottering finances over the edge. A fight ensues, with Maureen crashing through a glass coffee table, and she flees with baby Samantha while Scott opts to repair his ego with another woman and by "taking a little break from being home," leaving their Mexican maid, Araceli, to care for their two young boys. The situation turns explosive when Araceli tries to ferry the boys to their grandfather, only to spark a full-blown Los Angeles media circus. Tobar is both inventive and relentless in pricking the pretentious social consciences of his entitled Americans, though he also casts a sober look on the foibles of the Mexicans who serve them. His sharp eye for Southern California culture, spiraling plot twists, ecological awareness, and ample willingness to dole out come-uppance to the nauseatingly privileged may put readers in mind of T.C. Boyle. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tobar (The Tattooed Soldier) presents an original story of modern Southern California. Maureen and Scott Torres-Thompson live with their children in upscale Laguna Rancho Estates. Despite Scott's income as a computer game company vice president, bad investments and extravagant spending have forced them to fire their Mexican gardener and nanny. Housekeeper Araceli Ramirez must now do double duty. Though she's a dazzling cook, she's not up for child care, but her undocumented status forces her to accept the situation. Meanwhile, a disconnect is growing between Scott and Maureen. Without communicating to each other or to Araceli, they separately escape the pressures at home, and neither returns for four days. Araceli, alone and worried, has to do something, so she takes off with the two boys to Grandpa John's, with only a vague idea where he lives in central Los Angeles. When Scott and Maureen finally return, they are devastated to learn that their boys are missing with an undocumented Mexican nanny and make a call that changes all their lives forever. VERDICT Tobar's superb multilayered novel defines the social divide of Southern California, emphasizing in a complex and human way that there are no black-and-white answers in the immigration debate. [See Prepub Alert, 4/11/11.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.