Mr. Ives' Christmas

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9780060927547: Mr. Ives' Christmas

Hijuelos' novel tells the story of Mr. Ives, who was adopted from a foundling's home as a child. When we first meet him in the 1950s, Mr. Ives is very much a product of his time. He has a successful career in advertising, a wife and two children, and believes he is on his way to pursuing the typical American dream. But the dream is shattered when his son Robert, who is studying for the priesthood, is killed violently at Christmas. Overwhelmed by grief and threatened by a loss of faith in humankind, Mr. Ives begins to question the very foundations of his life. Part love story—of a man for his wife, for his children, for God—and part meditation on how a person can find spiritual peace in the midst of crisis, Mr. Ives' Christmas is a beautifully written, tender and passionate story of a man trying to put his life in perspective. In the expert hands of Oscar Hijuelos, the novel speaks eloquently to the most basic and fulfilling aspects of life for all of us.

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About the Author:

Oscar Hijuelos was born of Cuban parentage 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, among others. His five previous novels have been translated into twenty-five languages.

Oscar Hijuelos nació de padres cubanos en Nueva York en 1951. Sus otras novelas incluyen Mr. Ives' Christmas, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, Our House in the Last World y A Simple Havana Melody (Una Sencilla Melodía Habanera). Vive en Nueva York.

From Publishers Weekly:

The signal event of this novel?the shooting of the protagonist's son?is announced early, and the rest of the book is imbued with a melancholy only occasionally illuminated by spiritual revelation or insight. Edward Ives is a foundling, adopted by a widowed print shop manager and raised uneventfully in an idyllic?though Depression-era?New York City of egg creams, stickball and melting-pot color. Ives's dark looks and his father's long history of working amiably with Cuban pressmen incline him toward a sympathy with Hispanics and their culture, which conveniently anchors Hijuelos in a world he knows well. As a child, Ives shows a penchant for drawing, and he meets his future wife, Annie MacGuire, in a class at the Art Students League. Their first child, Robert (or Roberto), born in 1950, is murdered at age 17 on the streets of New York by a Puerto Rican teenager. The case is celebrated?Robert had just decided to enter the priesthood and was killed for a measly $10; by his side was found a shopping bag full of record albums?Christmas presents carefully chosen for each member of his family. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Hijuelos showed he can sharply evoke a vibrant, multicultural New York, capturing its music, its menace and its smell. Here, however, every storefront is darkened by the grief of Edward Ives, and every note is tamped. It is as if the lovelorn Nestor of Mambo Kings has returned from the dead to play his sad arias in a world?and a book?absent his lively, spirited brother, Cesar. The author's attempts to render all this as a Dickensian tale of redemption through dignified suffering?Dickens is invoked more than a dozen times?are crude and work no wonders. Not even a long-foreshadowed and deferred meeting at the end of the book between Ives and his son's murderer helps: "Nothing monumental transpired. Niceties were exchanged." Same for the book. BOMC selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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