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The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar – Part 1

With the race for the 2012 Presidential election taking shape, immigration has, once more, become a high-profile issue. Tea Partiers and their ilk are accusing Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry of being soft on immigrants, in particular, for supporting his state’s DREAM Act which allows some undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition. But a growing tide of support for immigrant rights seems inevitable in an increasingly diverse nation where Latinos in particular represent majority populations in dozens of American cities. More than a ten states now either allow or are considering allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students including New York and California. It is in this cultural flux that Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, LA Times columnist and novelist Héctor Tobar, has published his book, The Barbarian Nurseries. Set in the wealthy suburbs of Orange County and the gritty barrios of Los Angeles, The Barbarian Nurseries is the story of a young undocumented Mexican maid, Araceli, and her liberal employers, Maureen and Scott Torres-Thompson, and their three children. A marital dispute set off by the family’s financial woes leads to an inadvertent abandonment by the Torres-Thompsons of their two young sons who are left in the care of the surly Araceli. In an attempt to find the children’s grandfather Araceli takes the boys on a journey via Southern California public transit, across county lines, into a drama politicized by the media and legal system. Ultimately Araceli is accused of kidnapping the two American boys, and becomes a symbol for conservatives to rally against, and immigrant rights activists to rally behind, while her former employers choose between letting her take the blame and the possibility of losing their children to the state. The Barbarian Nurseries is Héctor Tobar’s third book, following Translation Nation, and The Tattooed Soldier.

This is part 1 of a 2 part interview. Watch a video of the interview here.

GUEST: Héctor Tobar, Pulitzer prize winning journalist, LA Times weekly columnist and author of three books, including The Barbarian Nurseries

Héctor Tobar has three upcoming book events:

Sunday October 2nd at 2:45 pm: 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair. Find out more here: www.westhollywoodbookfair.org

Tuesday October 4th at 7 pm: Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wednesday October 5th at 7 pm: Vroman’s Books, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101