Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Hijuelos (Beautiful Maria of My Soul, 2010, etc.) revisits the people and experiences whose confluence created his most celebrated work, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989).
The author's life did not begin propitiously. Read full book review >
Fifteen-year-old Rico Fuentes, who refers to himself as the "palest Cubano who ever existed on the planet," feels impelled by circumstances involving drugs, truancy and family to flee Harlem for Wisconsin; it's the 1960s and his good friend Roberto, a lottery winner, is attending college and has rented a farm nearby. Read full book review >
Pulitzer-winning Hijuelos's fourth sails close to the shoals of sentiment but remains an honest, moving account of a man, his family, and the changing city they live in. Edward Ives was orphaned at two (in 1924), entered a foundling home in Brooklyn, and was adopted by a kindly man named Ives, himself a foundling who now gave his own adoptive son a name and home. Read full book review >
Hijuelos's fluency—whether seamlessly singing the sad ballad of a family harrowed by madness and displacement in his first novel, Our House in the Last World (1985), or the slightly happier, warmer, more infectious up-tempo one of the Pulitzer-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989)—is his signature, and here he gives it a very, very long solo in a family chronicle that follows a huge Irish-Cuban family across the span of a century. The very title here speaks of muchness, and muchness is delivered—but much, disappointingly, about very little. Read full book review >