From the Publisher:
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 genius.
Thoughts Without Cigarettes by Oscar Hijuelos is a to-the-point, open, and honest memoir, documenting the challenges Oscar faced as a child growing up in a family where money was tight. Hijuelos crafts the story of his life growing up in a poor neighborhood, living in a shabby apartment in New York, having feeling of being a stranger even in his own family at times, and the ups and downs he experienced before he finally met with success. Hijuelos’ experiences give readers a poignant reminder of what it is like to be born of immigrants and feeling somewhat different from those around, particularly those with whom you share the most. To see this troubled youngster rise through all of his challenges and become a college graduate is reason to celebrate for Oscar. As an inspiration to those seeking a reason to pursue a passion, or as a heartwarming story of success in the face of despair, I highly recommend Thoughts Without Cigarettes to all readers, especially to those who enjoy memoirs.
Oscar Hijuelos was born in New York, where he now lives. He is the author of Our House in the Lost World, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez ‘Brien and The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.
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I received an arc of Thoughts Without Cigarettes by Oscar Hijuelos from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.