I first remember Hector Tobar's byline in dispatches from Latin America, back when he was a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. This was before I learned of his amazing debut novel, The Tattooed Soldier, perhaps the greatest-ever treatment of the Central American immigration experience in the United States. After reading that book, I've been an eternal fan since, not just devouring his writing for the Times as a correspondent, a columnist, and now a book-industry reporter, but also his books: his non-fiction Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity, the magnificent The Barbarian Nurseries, which takes place in an OC not that far away removed from reality, and his many witty Facebook updates on a coming tome regarding the trapped Chilean miners of a couple of years ago.
And it gives me great pleasure to know that Tobar is coming to the Fullerton Public Library to kick off the second installment of "Gustavo's Awesome Lecture Series!"
It'll happen January 31 at the Community Room (the gleaming auditorium at the Library, not the awesomely retro one) at 7 p.m. and as usual is sponsored by the Fullerton Library, Cal State Fullerton's Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies (where I'm a lecturer), and now KCRW-FM 89.9. I'll interview Tobar about his career, his books, and his own connections to Orange County (a graduate of UCI's legendary MFA program in creative writing, and an African-American padrino who once ran a black newspaper in Orange County in the 1960s until getting death threats--ah, Orange County...). The talk starts at 7 p.m., and as usual: lecture, FREE but books, BARATO. See you there!