Buy Used
$4.46
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided with every order. Listened to once! Both tapes and case are in great shape! We will ship within two business days of your order or your shipping is free! Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, please let us know and we will do all in our power to fix things!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Empress of the Splendid Season Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook


See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Audio, Cassette, Abridged, Audiobook
"Please retry"
$3.00 $0.24
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$27.50

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, returns with this look at Harlem life in the mid-20th century. His story revolves around the trials and tribulations of Lydia España, a "wonder of affection, crankiness, strength, and gentility." Lydia's eternal belief that she is somehow special carries her through her life's changes, from pampered daughter of a wealthy Cuban family to struggling immigrant seamstress to widowed cleaning lady in Harlem. Rita Moreno reads this abridgment with considerable aplomb, her remarkable range of accents and emotions conveying all the novel's passion. (Running time: 6 hours, 4 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney

From Publishers Weekly

Hijuelos (The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love) writes his novels as extended fables, depicting the Cuban-American immigrant experience in wise-yet-wistful nostalgic tones. Veteran actress Moreno plays up this quality in her sanguine, full-bodied reading of his newest, treating the author's descriptive prose with the reverence of a magical tale. Lydia Espana, born rich and beautiful in pre-Castro Cuba, is "banished" to the U.S. following a youthful sexual indiscretion. Once in New York City, she falls in love with Raul, a wonderfully romantic waiter. When Raul becomes disabled, Lydia is forced to become a domestic, cleaning the apartments of wealthy Manhattanites. Despite her station in life, Lydia remains an "aloof" and "arrogant" woman, steeped in her old-country values. As her children grow up during the tempestuous 1960s, Lydia becomes a fierce presence in their lives. True to his proven novelistic skills, Hijuelos's tale is richly emotional, filled with robust episodes of intergenerational family life. As audio drama, it comes across especially exuberant. Simultaneous release with the Harper Flamingo hardcover.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperAudio (January 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694520349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694520343
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,873,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

OSCAR HIJUELOS, the son of Cuban immigrants, is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His seven novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in New York City and spends part of the year in Durham, North Carolina, where he teaches at Duke University.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By cccroberts@aol.com on February 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Oscar Hijuelos again creates an achingly poignant tale of the myriad joys and sorrows encountered in "ordinary" lives. Wonderfully evocative of New York City throughout the fifties, sixties and early seventies, the story follows the life of Lydia Colon, banished as a teen from her well-to-do family in Cuba by her father, irate over an amorous episode, and tossed into circumstances she considers below her standing. Her young husband's frail health forces her to take a position cleaning the homes of affluent New Yorkers, and brings her painfully close to lives of priviledge and plenty as she herself once felt destined to have. The author captures the fatigue and frustration of lives dimmed by resignation and ill fortune and yet never misses the sometimes brief, but meaningful and mysterious instances when happiness and comfort appear. As in Hijuelos' other works, also addressed are the issues of what it is to be Cuban, how to preserve that identity, and how to pass it along to generations entirely removed from an increasingly mythical island homeland.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allen Kopp on April 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Empress of the Splendid Season" is the story of Lydia Espana, who was a society girl in Cuba before the revolution and who doesn't have such a wonderful life when she emigrates to New York. She is a very complex character, filled with longings and human frailities, but a positive character who is even heroic at times in a modest way. She meets and falls in love with a waiter and they have two children. When Lydia's husband, Raul, becomes ill with his heart, she has to assume the responsibility of supporting the family by her work as a "cleaning lady." She's forced to give up her dreams of romance and of a better life.
This is a wonderful book, well worth the time and effort it takes to read it. Oscar Hijuelos is one of the best writers around and fans of his work will not be disappointed by this one. However, I had the impression that this book doesn't break any new ground and doesn't quite rise to the level of his great earlier novels, "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" and "Mr. Ives' Christmas."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book is a graceful work about the life of an immigrant family in New York from the 40's to the present day. The book focuses on Lydia, a working class heroine, who goes from being a pampered, spoiled undisciplined rich girl in pre-revolutionary Cuba to a cleaning lady laboring for the well to do of the Big Apple. The book works best when focusing on the every day life of the dozens of every day characters that we meet. Although there is no major out of the ordinary climaxes in the story, Hijuelos' excellent prose makes us see how heroic ordinary life is. I reccommend this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anne Piervincenzi (annepier@ix.netcom.com) on July 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lydia's life journey takes her from the tranquil, tropical Cuban countryside to the grind and grit of New York City's tenements, but it also takes her from the height of youth, beauty, privilege, prestige, and pride, to the tedium of middle age and anonymity....a universal journey, intensified by her exiled, immigrant status. Like all true heros, Lydia, with all her flaws, evokes empathy as she "muddles" through life, searching for her truth. Muchas gracias, Oscar......
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Keller on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
It never ceases to amaze me that a male author can "capture" the spirit of a female, and represent a female as well as this author does. I also respect his ability to illuminate poverty--what it feels like to be poor, a minority, a stranger in a strange land. This author has much wisdom about the counter-balancing force of a strong worth ethic in this poor woman's life. The striving is melancholy; the mentality of poverty is in part that things will never change. She has a chronic sorrow . . . But Lydia is a lifelong learner, I feel, and a person able to adapt.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I can't imagine how other reviewers could call this book boring. I could have read it in one sitting, I just loved it. The period it evokes, the location (NYC), and the window on early Cuba -- all wonderful. Heartbreaking, real, complex, richly detailed, beautifully written. Can't wait to read "Mambo" now that I've been exposed to this great writer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found myself breezing through "Empress" but finished without feeling a lot for Lydia or her family. I didn't feel Lydia's pain. I felt sorry for her position and her constant yearning for her previous life, but at some point, I found myself wanting her to 'get over it'! When I finished, I did feel reminded to never let my socio-economic status run my life, ambitions, and goals the way Lydia did. It reminded me that there is so much more to live for. For that reason, "Empress" was a worthwhile read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading this book even though it was not in the same category as "The Mambo Kings". The story is enjoyable and well-written; however, at the end the reader feels like they never really got to know Lydia's children very well. They are portrayed as stereotypical teenagers for the first 1/2 of the novel and then the daughter all but disappears from the rest of the story. I would have preferred a more in-depth description of those characters.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?