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The 14 Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  496 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
In "The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, " Oscar Hijuelos brings to life the rambunctious Montez O'Brien family. In a small Pennsylvania town, Nelson O'Brien runs the Jewel Box Movie Theater, raising 14 daughters and a son with his wife, Mariela Montez. Through the eyes of Margarita, the eldest daughter, the lives, loves and tragedies of the Montez O'Briens and t ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 962)
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Molly
Oct 19, 2012 Molly rated it liked it
I kept wanting this book to have the magical writing of Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende. But it felt as if I were reading a book made up entirely of exposition, which is, perhaps, why I never attached to the book, never felt anxious to return to it, but instead plodded from section to section. It is a traditional family saga, and there are some lovely moments, but the rapid lift from character to character never let me sink into any of the individuals, never developing beyo ...more
Victor
Feb 05, 2008 Victor rated it it was amazing
it really felt like i was saying goodbye my own family when it ended. i know he won the pulitzer for 'mambo kings play songs of love' but i found this book to be the better one. i was sucked in immediately and i read long into each night until i finished it. it's the kind of writing that should be savored slowly. very emotional without the cloying sentiment that some writers would use to manipulate readers. i found myself re-reading passages just to experience his wonderful details. the final pa ...more
Abuela Linda
Jun 24, 2014 Abuela Linda rated it liked it
A whole lot of graphic sex scenes in this rather strange novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos. On sale for my Kindle. I found the endless tales about the 14 sisters and their love lives rather boring, but not boring enough not to finish it. THe author's sentences read like my Spanish teacher tries to get me to write: long, flowery sentences, which sometimes seem endless.

The parents of these 15 children seem rather implausible: a Cuban woman who never really learns to speak Engl
...more
Renee Pinkston
Jul 04, 2012 Renee Pinkston rated it it was amazing
I read this novel back when I was in high school; I was assigned to read "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and after I was done with that I was looking for more books like it and so I was told about this one by my English teacher.

At first I remember being daunted with the shear size of the book, I have never really done well with very long books, however once I started it, I couldn't put it down. The story is about a couple (an Irish photographer and a Cuban woman) who meet in C
...more
Tom Brennan
What an amazing book. I have to admit, it took me a while to get into it, but the brilliant writing kept me interested until I got hooked on the story. It is the tale of Irish-born Nelson O'Brien and Cuban-born Mariela Montez and their fifteen children, though much of the story is related from the eldest's (Margarita) and youngest's (Emilio) viewpoint. A wonderful mass of life, it chronicles their hopes, dreams and travails, starting in the early 1900s and continuing into the 1990s. To use a fav ...more
Theresa Cooper
It took awhile for me to get into this book. In fact, I contemplated abandoning it once or twice. But I'm glad I persisted. The book does seem scattered at times- switching narrators, frequently going back and forth between the present, past and sometimes future. I feel that the author should have created less sisters or delved more into their individual stories. Sometimes I forgot the particular details of some sisters as they are only briefly mentioned. And as other reviewers have mentioned, i ...more
Suanne Laqueur
Feb 18, 2016 Suanne Laqueur rated it it was amazing
I don’t know how Oscar Hijuelos created a family of seventeen and made each member unique and memorable, but The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O’Brien is a masterpiece of both writing and food.

Read more here: http://www.suannelaqueur.com/great-fo...
Colleen
Jun 02, 2014 Colleen rated it really liked it
Although, I'm not quite sure who was the central character in this book, I enjoyed following the lives of so many interesting people. This book made me realize how few books actually delve into the lives of older people. I left me feeling very optimistic.
Ellen
Jul 20, 2014 Ellen rated it liked it
An Irish/Cuban family in Pennsylvania. Some really good stories, but too many threads that crisscross in a rather disorganized fashion--one never gets to really know or care about anyone. A decent vacation book, though.
Rose
Nov 10, 2014 Rose rated it really liked it
A magical story by one of my favorite authors, Oscar Hijuelos. Imagine being one of the fourteen sisters of Emilio Montez, who was the fifteenth child born in this loving, close family of an Irish father and a Cuban mother. Worth reading if only to inhale the scent of Hijuelos's lyrical words.
Rachel
May 18, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I had read it when it was new and just reread it. A very heart warming family saga. He is a great writer. This is my favorite of his books.
Deirdre Boyle
May 16, 2014 Deirdre Boyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is a beautifully written epic American tale of a pair of Irish and Cuban emigrants and their family over the course of a century or so. Although I liked the way Oscar Hijuelos illustrated all of the characters in this large family there was certainly a disproportionate focus on the eldest sister Margarita who lived to be a very old lady. It is such a pity that Hijuelos himself didn’t live into old age, as he really was such an articulate, intelligent, and evocative writer. Thankfully h ...more
Bjorn Arvidsson
Oct 09, 2014 Bjorn Arvidsson rated it it was amazing
A magical trip through time, life and a family. Hijuelos' arguably best book.
Gary Murning
Jun 11, 2014 Gary Murning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly beautiful, fluid novel that succeeds in encompassing a family history in a form that seems ineluctably natural. Hijuelos guides the reader through the complexity of this vast Cuban-Irish family with lyrical skill, subtle eroticism and solid realism. I've just finished and I want to visit with them again. Now. Immediately.
Sharon
Jul 26, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing

masterfully written, good historical fiction. I read it in a few days. Oscar Hijuelos, one of the best contemporary authors.
Melinda Allen
Jul 20, 2014 Melinda Allen rated it really liked it
Shelves: very-good
A wonderfully written, long, leisurely rich book. Slow moving and with such lovingly well-developed characters - I was well aware of how much I was enjoying the act of reading it.
Maureen
the first half was slow - which is why I kept putting it down to read other books - but by the end it narrowed down to a few of the siblings and became more manageable.
Dianne Merridith
Mar 30, 2014 Dianne Merridith rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I wanted to like it more than I did. There was too much description and not enough dialog. I never really got involved in the story.
Kent
Mar 15, 2014 Kent added it
I didn't finish the book, it was just to sweet and corny,not really an exciting read. If anyone has any other suggested books by Mr. Hijuelos, please recommend, I know he is a very popoular writer.
Jonna
Mar 09, 2013 Jonna rated it it was amazing
This book is a wild ride - a great story with wonderful characters and lots of action taking place, and almost all of it hilarious. There are also touching moments. The writing is fabulous and the book is a special treat - a definite 'good read'. :)
Mary
October, 2013 Oscar Hijuelos died recently and in his obituary, I read that he had written this book. I'm sure I read it [maybe in 1993] and liked it, but I can't remember anything about it. May have to revisit this one.
Terry
Mar 12, 2013 Terry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat pleasant, but boring. Nothing really happened to tie the whole family and their individual life stories together. I felt it was wriiten from a man's point of view even though most of the characters were female.
VerJean
Read this in 2007. Memory dims about some of the specifics of the family story.
I know that I liked it and it was quite long, but was disappointed for it to end.
I would read it again.
Read in 2007.
Desiree
Nov 07, 2014 Desiree rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Ugh, NOTHING HAPPENED. I feel like I read page after page after page of some pre-pubescent, incestuous fantasy. It was awful. I could not and will not finish it.
Marianne
Jan 11, 2012 Marianne rated it really liked it
It was a good book. Long....I almost put it down, and then a line in the book would resonate with me and I stuck with it and am very glad I did.
Suzanne
Apr 07, 2008 Suzanne rated it did not like it
The first book in years I simply couldn't finish - too weighty, too much skipping around to where I'd lose the original train of thought.
Llandholt
Jul 13, 2015 Llandholt rated it liked it
Long book
Elizabeth
Aug 09, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
a beautiful story of a large family in small-town penn-- told in the classic latin epic-family-saga style.
Marina
Mar 04, 2014 Marina rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Clever idea, but without actual Magical Realism after a while this story just sounds ridiculous.
Sue
Jul 04, 2008 Sue rated it it was amazing
Epic story about one family the severalgenerations. I didn't want it to end.
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Oscar Hijuelos (born August 24, 1951) is an American novelist. He is the first Hispanic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Hijuelos was born in New York City, in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, to Cuban immigrant parents. He attended the Corpus Christi School, public schools, and later attended Bronx Community College, Lehman College, and Manhattan Community College before matriculating into and
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“The house in which the fourteen sisters of Emilio Montez O'brien lived, radiated femininity.” 5 likes
“Sober, he would regard his wife with amor—the kind of amor the oldest sisters, Margarita and Isabel, knew took place at the end of the evening, when they were all supposed to be asleep and not listening for bedroom noises, agitated springs, gasping, rocking movements, moans of pleasure, or any other such unparental sounds, drifting down the halls, as if they were wall-less and not a single cicada nor a rushing wind existed in all the world.” 0 likes
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