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The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Paperback – Bargain Price, May 4, 2010
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The Valley (The Valley Trilogy)
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
My teacher was right. Keep an open mind while reading this, or any, book. But, don't deny yourself the luxury of reading such a wonderful book!
The story while full of colorful epsiodes is ultimately tragic as the brothers age and life takes it's toll on each of them in very different ways.
Hijuelos uses sexual imagery and descriptions of food to create a steamy intensity to the story with great effect. That said the lurid sexual descriptions cited by many other reviewers may turn off some readers. While I was enjoying the book enough to overlook this, there are times when he does rely too much on this device and the novel starts to feel like a guilty pleasure. If you are OK with that type of writing then there are rewards to be had in the characterizations and plot. If you cannot stomach the hard-core sexual references that are integral to this book then stay away and try one of his other novels.
It was such a bittersweet book, such an undercurrence of sadness and loss. It was essentially, a lament to old age and wasted youth. The detail is incredible, the emotions very real. It effectively captures the horrible sinking inevitability of death.
Hijelo's characters are wild, if not dislikable. This is perhaps the finest point of the piece; the characters are utterly human and terribly flawed.
Cesor's incredible libedo is at the forefront of the work, and there is a sense of humidity, sweat and the smells of sex that pervade the work. Hijelo should be admired for being able to conjuer up such senses. I found it a sensual read, however I disagree with many who describe the sex as sensual. It seemed very coarse, but this is not a criticism, it served its coarse purposes.
The only criticism I have is the distracting nature of many of the sex scenes. The sheer amount of them seemed somewhat unnecessary, however, they began to fade once Cesar aged.
Over all, innovative and superb.
I loved this novel and thought it was beautifully written, however, I agree with some of the posters who have complained that it meandered too much. It DID meander, but those "meanderings" were fortunately, spectacularly beautiful. While reading, I kept thinking that with a better editor, it would be a more cohesive story. But as I thought about it, it seems that the meandering followed a jazz structure wherein there are improvisational riffs that do what they do and though connected to the song are also little works of art unto themselves. If you're reading for a structure that you've seen before in books, which is often a three-act structure, this novel may be frustrating. But if you read it just to experience and explore it, the way the character Caesar explores and delights in all the parts of a woman's body, you will find the way to experience this book. There IS a destination to the story, but this isn't a story about getting to a destination, it's about living in the moments and REALLY experiencing the fullness of each of them. The novel examines what ultimately feels like a real life, fully lived, with wonderful moments of joy and success and love AND deep disappointment and despair.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I definately see the scenes in my mind. It made me want to listen to some of the old songs and artists that are mentioned. Great book.Published 1 month ago by Chad Allison
I couldn't put this book down. It was very well written. I'm ready to read it again. I actually thought it was for real.Published 2 months ago by Paulina Castaneda
It was a tremendous book based on the trials of a sinful man. His experiences were very true to life taken in the proper prospectives.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I watched this movie when it first came out and fell in love with every aspect of it. Fast forward 20 years and I learn that it was originally a book. I had to read it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rockygirl60617
Superb story written with an astonishing knowledge of the American English language. Two unforgettable characters, the Castillo Brothers, surrounded by the most famous Cuban and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Hened Manzur-Soda
The Mambo Kings Pay Songs of Love is about the creative and destructive forces of love, in all its forms, for a culture - in a particular time and place - a family, and a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Miriam C. Jacobs
I had seen the film, which I loved, and reading the book was a trip back to the days when the Cubans were arriving in the USA.Published 10 months ago by David Thorn
The story reminded me of a book Gabriel Garcia may have written. It was a great read and filled me with emotion. It's sad so don't read if you get highly attached to characters. Read morePublished 11 months ago by James Conners
Hugely interesting review of changing New York City, Hispanic immigrants, and its music scene. Might appeal to impure interests -- you have heard of Latin lovers.Published 12 months ago by Gloria Hille