The Barbarian Nurseries

By Héctor Tobar

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Araceli is an illegal, Mexican maid working in the Torres-Thompson household in Orange County: a paradise of sterile, suburban families obsessed by image. When Scott and Maureen Torres get into a massive fight, each leave the house thinking the other will take care of their sons, and Araceli wakes up to an empty household. Left alone with two boys – with whom she has no relationship other than providing them with meals and cleaning up after their mess – she decides to take them on a wild trip through L.A.’s Mexican neighbourhoods to hunt down their grandfather. At times over-the-top, Tobar nonetheless offers vivid and powerful descriptions of the daily humiliations and awful conditions that illegal immigrants find themselves experiencing, smack in the middle of California’s Eden-like enclaves.

Perfect for:

  • Anyone interested in reading about the less-oft explored side of Los Angeles’ struggling neighbourhoods.
  • Lovers of social satire.
  • Readers of searing portraits of what it means to be an illegal immigrant in California. 
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