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Inspired by their heroes Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz, brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo come to New York City from Cuba in 1949 with designs on becoming mambo stars. Eventually they do--performing with Arnaz on "I Love Lucy" in 1955 and recording 78s with their own band, the Mambo Kings. In his second novel, Hijuelos traces the lives of the flashy, guitar-strumming Cesar and the timid, lovelorn Nestor as they cruise the East Coast club circuit in a flamingo-pink bus. Enriching the story are the brothers' friends and family members--all driven by their own private dreams. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Mambo Kings are two brothers, Cesar and Nestor Castillo, Cuban-born musicians who emigrate to New York City in 1949. They form a band and enjoy modest success, playing dance halls, nightclubs and quince parties in New York's Latin neighborhoods. Their popularity peaks in 1956 with a guest appearance on the I Love Lucy show, playing Ricky Ricardo's Cuban cousins and performing their only hit song in a bittersweet event that both frames the novel and serves as its emblematic heart. Hijuelos's first novel, Our House in the Last World , was justly praised for its tender vignettes of emigre Cuban life; here, he tells of the triumphs and tragedies that befall two men blessed with gigantic appetites and profoundly melancholic hearts--Cesar, the elder, and the bandleader, committed to the pursuit of life's pleasures, and Nestor, he of the "dark, soulful countenance," forever plunging through a dark, Latin gloom. In a performance that deepens the canon of American ethnic literature, Hijuelos evokes, by day, a New York of crowded Harlem apartments made cheery by Cuban hospitality, and by night, a raucous club scene of stiletto heels and waxy pompadours--all set against a backdrop of a square, 1950s America that thinks worldliness means knowing the cha-cha. With an unerring ear for period idioms ("Hello you big lug") and a comic generosity that renders even Cesar's sexual bravado forgivable if not quite believable, Hijuelos has depicted a world as enchanting (yet much closer to home) as that in Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera . The lyricism of Hijuelos's language is wonderfully restrained, conveying with equal facility ribald comedy and heartfelt pathos. Despite a questionable choice of narrative conceit (Cesar recollects the novel from a seedy "Hotel Splendour" in 1980), Hijuelos's pure storytelling skills commission every incident with a life and breath of its own.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have read very few Pulitzer Prize winning novels that I truly did not like, but this is one. This story of two brothers who come to the United States from Cuba to make their... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Adviser
can't remember which person the story was written. I couldn't put it down once I started it. If you loved the movie, you will love the book which is filled with much more back... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jo Jo
A fascinating blend of fact and fiction. Despite the macho take on male sexuality which was occasionally off putting, the sex scenes were passionately written and erotic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by electricblue201
Great novel that reads like an intimate documentary of life as a Cuban immigrant musician in NYC in the 40s and 50s. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Using the past and present, as seen through the eyes of various key characters, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love” tells the story of Nestor and Oscar, two brothers who left... Read morePublished 7 months ago by SunshineRose
Great writing. Moving. Funny. A great love story with life!Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really loved this book. found a good copy for a good price.Published 7 months ago by Gina Rose St John