Thoughts Without Cigarettes

Thoughts Without Cigarettes

3.33 (159 ratings on Goodreads)
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The beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns his pen to the real people and places that have influenced his life and, in turn, his literature. Growing up in 1950's working-class New York City to Cuban immigrants, Hijuelos journey to literary acclaim is the evolution of an unlikely writer. Oscar Hijuelos has enchanted readers with vibrant characters who hunger for success, love, and self-acceptance. In his first work of nonfiction, Hijuelos writes from the heart about the people and places that inspired his international bestselling novels. Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry- writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often prejudiced working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved. With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, "Thoughts Without Cigarettes" follows Hijuelos's subsequent quest for his true identity into adulthood, through college and beyond-a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction, and which finds its most glorious expression in his best-known book, "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love." Illuminating the most dazzling scenes from his novels, "Thoughts Without Cigarettes" reveals the true stories and indelible memories that shaped a literary more

Product details

  • Hardback | 367 pages
  • 147.32 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 544.31g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, frontispiece
  • 1592406297
  • 9781592406296
  • 2,302,225

Review quote

"Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Hijuelos proves himself again with his autobiography... Readers who enjoyed Hijuelos' novels will enjoy his memoir, a revelation of the personal sources of most of his fiction." -"Library Journal" "The story he tells in "Thoughts Without Cigarettes," however, is often as compelling as his best fiction...Mr. Hijuelos infuses the stuff of day-to-day life with drama, and sometimes magic." -George De Stefano, "New York Journal of Books" "Hijuelos observes keenly that "a lot of writing is thinking aloud on paper, and necessary if only to discover the real heart of a story." With grace, care, and torment, he presents his past, and if you care to, it's more than enough to reassemble into the man." -Jane Carlen, "Portland Mercury" "This memoir portrays [second generation Cubans'] experience, and that of successive generations, with a candor that few others have dared. The loss of a mother tongue and the frustration of ishow more
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