Thoughts Without Cigarettes by Oscar Hijuelos
A Memoir

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Synopsis

A beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns his pen to the real people and places that have influenced his life and literature.  A comprehensive look into the mind of a writer.

Born in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Oscar 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 a working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship with his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn with his mother in pre-Castro Cuba, 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 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 genius.

 

About Oscar Hijuelos

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OSCAR HIJUELOS is the international bestselling author of eight novels, including The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, for which he became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He has also received the Rome Prize and prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Born in Manhattan in 1951, he divides his time between New York and North Carolina, where he teaches at Duke University.
 
Published June 2, 2011 by Gotham. 383 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After high school, he bounced around, then began some off-and-on undergraduate programs, beginning at Bronx Community College, eventually ending up at CCNY, where he got into a writing seminar with Donald Barthelme, who became a longtime friend.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Publishers Weekly

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A modest yet inspired look back at his Manhattan upbringing by Cuban immigrants takes Pulitzer Prize–winning Hijuelos from the early 1950s through the extraordinary success of his second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.

May 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Kirkus Reviews

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I have yet to read a major discussion of American literature that while continually praising writers like Franzen, Foer, Foster Wallace and Chabon, among others, includes the rich and vital contributions of Latino writers from across the country.

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

New York Journal of Books

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“When he was only five years old, the Cuban-American writer Oscar Hijuelos lost the Spanish language, and with it his sense of himself as Cuban.

Jun 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Los Angeles Times

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It tells the story of an American neighborhood and of the young man who was born there, who looked inside himself and found books waiting to be written.

Jul 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Los Angeles Times

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Was there ever a time and place more alive and unpredictable than New York City in the middle decades of the 20th century?

Jul 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Dallas News

Suddenly he’s “a pensive, occasionally funny, melancholic man nearly forty years old, tasting for the first time in his life a bit of success.” Hijuelos was the first Latino to receive the Pulitzer for fiction, and Thoughts Without Cigarettes traces his life up to that point.

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Oregon Live

Oscar Hijuelos made history when his novel "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, making him the first Latino writer to win the coveted prize.

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

Alibi

Oscar Hijuelos is known primarily for his novel Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, with which he became the first Latino author to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

Jun 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

The Gleaner

In his novels, Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos captures the loss and triumphs of Cuban immigrants in tales of displaced dreams, lovelorn beauties and eternal music.

Jun 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: ...

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