The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

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9781401310028: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

When it was first published in 1989, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love became an international bestselling sensation, winning rave reviews and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that changed the landscape of American literature returns with a new afterword by Oscar Hijuelos. Here is the story of the memorable Castillo brothers, from Havana to New York's Upper West Side. The lovelorn songwriter Nestor and his macho brother Cesar find success in the city's dance halls and beyond playing the rhythms that earn them their band's name, as they struggle with elusive fame and lost love in a richly sensual tale that has become a cultural touchstone and an enduring favorite.

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Review:

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.

About the Author:

Oscar Hijuelos, the son of Cuban immigrants, was born 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. His novels-- Our House in the Last World, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, Mr. Ives' Christmas, Empress of the Splendid Season, and A Simple Habana Melody--have been translated into twenty-five languages.

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