Roger DeBlanck's Reviews > The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
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's review
Aug 10, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

The novels of Cuban American Oscar Hijuelos portray the ambiguity between assimilation and identity of immigrant life from the perspective of his cultural background. For The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Hijuelos was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1990. Apart from it prevalent focus on eroticism, this novel is also a lush, evocative, and nostalgic story about two Cuban brothers, Cesar and Nestor Castillo. A primary theme of the novel deals with acculturation and the struggle to gain success in America. As immigrants, the brothers arrive in New York City in the 1950s with hopes and dreams of a career in music. They assemble and perform as the Mambo Kings and gain relative fame before their lives weigh down with responsibilities and hardships that force them away from their dreams. Hijuelos brings lyricism to the brothers’ lives as he traces their desires and memories of the past.

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