The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
By Oscar Hijuelos
(Hyperion, Paperback, 9781401310028, 448pp.)
Publication Date: May 2010
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When it was first published in 1989, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love became an international bestselling sensation, winning rave reviews and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that changed the landscape of American literature returns with a new afterword by Oscar Hijuelos. Here is the story of the memorable Castillo brothers, from Havana to New York's Upper West Side. The lovelorn songwriter Nestor and his macho brother Cesar find success in the city's dance halls and beyond playing the rhythms that earn them their band's name, as they struggle with elusive fame and lost love in a richly sensual tale that has become a cultural touchstone and an enduring favorite.
Oscar Hijuelos, the son of Cuban immigrants, was born in New York City in 1951. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His novels--Our House in the Last World, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, Mr. Ives' Christmas, Empress of the Splendid Season, and A Simple Habana Melody--have been translated into twenty-five languages.
Novelist Oscar Hijuelos was the first Latino writer to win the prize for fiction, for his second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. He died over the weekend at age 62. David Greene talks to author Gustavo Perez Firmat, who is a Columbia University professor and was a friend of Hijuelos. More at NPR.org
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"A rich and sorrowful novel... that alternates crisp narrative with opulent musings--the language of everyday and the language of longing. You finish feeling... ready to throw up your arms and cry, Que bueno es! Mr. Hijuelos is writing music of the heart."
-New York Times Book Review
"Brilliant... memorable... a heady and powerful triumph... one of the most spectacularly vibrant and moving works by an American in years."
-Alice Metcalf Miller, Cleveland Plain Dealer