PDF NEW The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love ê Oscar Hijuelos
I cannot BELIEVE this book won a Pulitzer I bought it because of the shiny red cover with the big silver medal looking sticker on the front yes that is how I judge books The Cuban historyliving in New York as a Cubanmusic scene perspective was interesting but it was overshadowed by the long long LONG woe is me sad sack self destructive fatalistic characters who were for the most part unlikable and unrelatable and the pages and pages of sex Not sexy sex DH Lawrence this is not It s like forensic sex There are much better books about Cuban jazz musicians I m sure if that s what you re in to I almost never would label a book DO NOT READ even if I didn t particularly care for it This book is one of the few However I m apparently one of the only people who feels this way The Pulitzer uys certainly didn t agree with me I did not have big hopes oing into The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love I was hoping to be surprised Unfortunately there were only moments of surprise but not enough for this one to vault over the three star mark It beat out Billy Bathgate for the 1990 Pulitzer and as I have not yet read that book I have to assume it was mediocre and as there were no other runner ups that year must have been a downer literary speaking Maybe they should have taken a closer look at Get Shorty or Hocus Pocus although perhaps stooping down to Jurassic Park would have been too low In any case the book was interesting but lacked I don t know a likable protagonistNestor and Cesar Castillo are brothers from Cuba that arrive in New York riding the mamba wave in the 40s to become the Mambo Kings They leave their families in Cuba their abusive father their doting mother and in the case of Nestor an ex lover which haunts him and in the case of Cesar a wife and a daughter Of the two the younger Nestor is a shy trumpet player and Cesar est un flamboyant singer and multi instrumentalist and dancer The book is told from the perspective of the broken and dying Cesar from his room in the decrepit Hotel Splendor in Manhattan as he ruminates on his life while drinking it away We learn the tragic stories of various musicians on the scene killed over women drugs unpaid bills Most of the narrative is in the third person but there are first person interruptions in parentheses and occasionally we step into the minds of Nestor and his unfortunate wife Delores as well There are some nice passages in these souvenirsit s as if he s a kid again running through the center of Las Pi as at carnival and the porches of the houses are lit with huge lanterns and the balconies arlanded with ribbons and tapers and flowers and where he runs past so many musicians musicians everywhere on the street corners on the church steps on the porches of houses and continuing on toward the plaza where the big orchestra is set up that s the trumpet he hears echoing in the arcades of his town as he passes the columns and the shadows of couples hidden behind them and charges down steps past a The GI Bride garden through the crowds and the dancers to the bandstand where that trumpet player obese in a white suit head tilted back blows music up into the sky and this carries and bounces off the walls of another arcade in Havana and he s blowing the trumpet now at three in the morning reeling in circles and laughing after a night out at the clubs and brothels with friends and his brother laughing with the notes that whip into empty dark spaces and bounce back swirling inside him like youth p 25 If only all the text was like this it would have been a better book As it is the text is mostly about how awful Cesar is with women using and losing them one after another his disregard of his daughter despite half efforts toet to know her is the ultimate failure to meet her when she is an adultThere is some occasional insight that as someone having rown up in Miami and having been very close to several Cuban families I found appropriate in terms of how many Cubans deal with depressionHe didn t know what was oing on Cubans then and Cubans now didn t know about psychological problems Cubans who felt bad went to their friends ate and drank and went out dancing Most of the time they wouldn t think about their problems A psychological problem was part of someone s character Cesar was un macho rande Nestor un infeliz People who hurt bad enough and wanted cures expected these cures to come immediately p 114 This oes far to explain for me anyway *How This Generation Of *this Ratscalibur generation of immigrants became such hardcore conservatives and why there was so much spousal and child abuse as shown in the book and bourne out in real life in the communityThe key memory for Cesar and for Nestor is the moment that they meet Desi Arnaz andet a spot on the I Love Lucy show in 1955 to play Nestor s ballad Beautiful Maria of My Soul which The Million Dollar Goal (The Million Dollar Series, gives them a temporary boost in their careers The meeting is described in a typically Cuban way And then in the way that Cubanset really friendly Arnaz and Cesar reinvented their pasts so that in fact they had probably been The Selected Poems good friends p 127 Perhaps it is this idealism that doomed those who stayed in Cuba to accept a terrible regime under Castro and which pushed the migrants to the US to success while their unprocessed psychological problems pulled their politics hard right Unfortunately however two years later Nestor still crushed by his undiagnosed depression because of his lost love in Havana dies in a car crash The rest of Cesar s life is a slow descent into alcoholism and escapism and this is the real issue that I had with the book I sort of liked Nestor but really it was out of pity than affection and Cesar is just the boisterous Cuban asshole that I saw and detested when Irew up in Miami Even Delores was a depressing character that never rises above her station when truly she could have All the meaningless sex and there is a LOT of that and discussions of Cesar s enormous prick ot to be irritating as well In summary this is a very melancholic book about extreme macho stereotypes that refuse to look in the mirror and take responsibility for their actions While Nestor was onstage and playing the solo to Beautiful Maria a bad sensation had started in his kneecap
"And Risen Slowly Rib "risen slowly rib rib through his chest and back before settling in his thoughts It was the simple feeling that his desires somehow contradicted his purpose in his life to write sad boleros to lie sick in bed to mourn long past loves to crave what he could never have p 180 Ultimately Nestor dies with that last thought and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions about the whole mess that the two brothers leave behind I suppose that many of the situations relayed here by Hijuelos were auto biographical but I just found that the pace was rueling at times and that I never liked or wanted to like Cesar especially 300 pages of his rambling self pitying memoirs This book is nostalgic exotic erotic and narcotic It is a beautiful book and I have returned to it several times and each time I am completely swept up emotionally by it With mere words on a page the author creates the melodies of the Mambo era the smells of rural Cuban cane fields the sweat of a dance hall the swelter of a New York City summer The two main characters Cesar and Nestor love in completely different but totally compelling ways For Nestor love is an ideal out of reach and cause for nothing but pain Cesar loves all of womankind with an unuenchable thirst If Nestor is a Keats poem Cesar is a Marvin Gaye album I did not find the book sexist as some have claimed I did find the book unabashedly sensual as sensual as the music and culture and era in which it celebrates If your My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA greatest erogenous zone is your mind read The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love If living 1949 Dos jóvenes cubanos músicos salen de la Habana y llegan alran teatro de Nueva York Es la temporada del mambo y los hermanos Castillo uienes trabajan duro durante el día pronto se convier.
Oscar Hijuelos ´ 1 READ & DOWNLOADEces of propaganda circulated by the CIA There are though enough highlights to make me The Book of Leviathan glad I was patient and read through to the end of the book The novel weaves together fact and fiction so well that I had no way to tell which are the real musicians of the era and which are the fictional ones All of them feel alive ready to stand up and start blowing a trumpet or strumming auitar take a turn around the dance floor in the arms of a sultry Latino beauty The very aboundance of the minute details of day to day life that slow down the pacing are the ones that make the experience authentic and memorable The cheap sentimentality and readiness for tears are proof that their hearts are not hardened cynical and closed to the possibility of love The night of the dance Delores was thinking about what her sister Ana Maria had told her Love is the sunlight of the soul water for the flowers of the heart and the sweet scented wind of the morning of life sentiments taken from corny boleros on the radio but maybe they were true no matter how cruel and stupid men can be Perhaps there ll be a man who ll be different and Nine Ghosts good to me I don t know if the famous bolero sung by Nestor and Cesar Castillo exists or not in one of the old mambo recordings but it echoes still in my mind almost two months after I finished the book and I know that I will listen carefully to the lyrics next time I put in one of my own Cuban CD s thinking of my own youthful disregard for the passage of time and my spendthrift atitude to friends and lovers Oh love s sadnessWhy did you come to meI was happy before youentered my heartHow can I hate youif I love you soI can t explain my tormentfor I don t know how to livewithout your love What delicious painlove has brought to mein the form of a womanMy torment and ecstasyMaria my lifeBeautiful Maria of my soul PS I know there is a movie version of the novel and I plan to find it I mlad I Las Maravillosas Obras de Dios: Historias B�blicas Para La Familia got to read the book first since I don t think you can condense all the rich material here in only a couple of hours of screen time Yet I also know of another Cuban movie that is constructed around the music and the 1950 s dance scene that did an excellent job with the subject and I heartily recommend it Fernando Trueba s animation feature Chico and Rita Like clockwork highly viscousraphic coitus every 3 5 pages Give that book The Pulitzer Prize As the weather heats up it is easy to envision oneself on a beach with a rum and Coke in hand The preferred beverage in Cuba before Castro s take over rum invokes images of Havana as a city teeming with night life and rivaling Miami as the ateway to Latin America It is with this sensuous imagery at hand that I selected Oscar Hijuelos Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love as the next book in my ongoing Pulitzer challenge The first Hispanic to win the award Hijuelos steamy book transports its readers back to a classy time when Mambo and its musicians were indeed Kings Brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo hailed from the Oriente province of Cuba From the simple peasant class neither had much of a future especially with a demanding father who expected them to stay on the farm One day Cesar heard a local band leader practicing demanded lessons and the rest is history Soon Cesar played his way out of Oriente to Santiago Havana and eventually New York Regarded as a top band leader alongside Nestor a ifted trumpet player the brothers founded the Mambo Kings band and catapulted to the top of the Latin music circuit in New York during the late 1940s Leaving Cuba even before the revolution was not without its share of anguish Cesar epitomized Hispanic machismo culture and bedded one woman after another He tried his hand at marriage but The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) grew restless and his wife divorced him forcing him to leave his daughter Mariela behind on the island Nestor did not share his brother s cockiness A introvert and brooding man he fell for a prettyirl named Maria and engaged in a long affair with her only to see her marry another man Nestor never Riding Hard got over this heartbreak even after marrying his wife Dolores in New York and having two children Eugenio and Leticia This torment the brothers felt lead them to write their one hit song Dulce Maria de mi Alma Beautiful Maria of my Soul that nearly lead them to stardom A chance meeting with Cuban star Desi Arnaz lead the brothers to perform Dulce Maria de mi Alma on the I Love Lucy Show At the time especially as Castro continued toain power in Cuba all Cubans living in the United States stuck close together even Arnaz who
HAD MADE IT BIG AS Amade it big as a star After this performance Cesar dwelt on this episode for the rest of his life reminiscing on his one shining moment and reminding all of his friends and acuaintances that he is the famous Mambo Kings who once performed with Desi Arnaz Nestor tragically passed away a few years later leaving behind a young family but Cesar continued to look fondly at this experience on television for better or worse Hijuelos writes this poignant tale as a two sided record complete with coda He tells Cesar s story in flashback as both Cesar and his nephew Eugenio look back at a time when Cesar was the Mambo King of New York In addition to leading a band Cesar worked a full time day job to support himself and his sister in law and her family as well as his friends and musicians and a myriad of Cubans just off the boat Cesar also oozed machismo until his dying day bedding one woman after another in true Latin lover form The prose dripped of sensuous love mixed with pain of both love lost and the schism of Cubans in the United States and the island following the revolution As I read this tale of lust and heartbreak I kept singing Cuban hits such as Guantamera in my mind setting Cesar Castillo s conflicted life to music The Mambo King will be long remembered by me as I felt a twinge of sympathy for this man who could not relate to women except in bed while leading a conflicted life With luscious writing that is could also be construed as an homage to his native Cuba Hijuelos has merited the Pulitzer for his poignant tale A story of immigrants who brushed with fame were scorned by love and maintained their machismo Cuban culture throughout their lives The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is a scintillating tale I had previously read Hijuelos The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O Brien and as before was enad by his writing A worthy torch bearer as being the first Hispanic authored book to earn the Pulitzer Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is a jewel of a book for me at 45 sparkling stars DNF So disappointing An extremely engaging six page intro leads into a choppy entirely sex focused story that fails to develop atmosphere or nostalgia the way the author intends It felt like being stuck at a bar next to an old drunk dude wanting to tell you every detail of his life story how he used to be a musician and slept with just about every chick in NYC at the time Bully for you Arabian Challenge guy Can I leave now Iuess there was a plot But I think it was all a thinly veiled cover for writing about an old man s penis Seriously Every page includes some reference to this horny old man s sexual escapades It s ross And a little depressing *Which Isprovocative I GuessEDIT I *isprovocative I uessEDIT I my initial hatred filled review I might even consider re reading this from a non sophomoric perspectiveI was a sopho in high school when I first read this and hated it I did not realize that I was listening to an abridge audio version of this novel until after 3 hours of listening I came to an end This was not written anywhere when I looked it up at my library nor on the copy I borrowed Not even sure I should count it having read it Also the narrator was a surprisingly poor choice He sounds like he is having. A años después recordarán con nostalgia y afecto En Los Reyes del Mambo Tocan Canciones de Amor Oscar Hijuelos crea una obra rica y fascinante sobre la pasión y la muerte la memoria y el deseo. .
Life that is drenched in passion and pleasure to it s fullest capacity is a belief you subscribe to read this book If you enjoy rich storytelling you will like this book A plump juicy sexy tropical fruit of a novelIts immediately evident why it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize as a matter of fact it comes from a proud line of family sagas all of them conjoined fatefully with the history of our nation The Castillo Bros castle siblings are the Kings of their music and major purveyors of the Cuban American Zeitgeist Of course the story is tragicomic sad but not in a completely unfamiliar way Yes this one seems to have inspired later Pulitzer winners such as The Stone Diaries The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay Oscar Wao the music heavy A Visit from the Goon Suad Looking at her Nestor felt faint hearted she was beautiful than the sea than the morning light than a wildflower field and her whole body agitated and sweaty from her struggles Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students gave off an aromatic female scent somewhere between meat and perfume and ocean air that assailed Nestor s nostrils sank down into his body like mercury and twisted in hisut like Cupid s naughty arrow He was so shy that he couldn t look at her any and she liked this because men were always looking at herMy name is Maria she told him He is Nestor Castillo a young man born on a farm and coming to Havana to become a musician like his big brother Cesar In the big city he meets a beautiful woman has a torid love affair with her and then he loses her While Cesar is a libertine who changes his women often than his shirts Nestor cannot recover from this first love affair not even when he ILLERAMMA Kathalu goes to New York like many of his fellow Cuban artists in the 1950 a at the height of the Mambo Craze in the American nightclubs not even when he meets another beautiful Cuban immigrant and marries her not even when at the height of his succes he sings with his brother in a Hollywood television programme about the pain of lost love in a melancholic bolero Bella Maria de Mi AlmaNestor remains distant taciturn tormented by absences missing not only Maria but also the land of his birth and childhood He is transformed into a symbol of the exiled soul His continuingrief was a monument to American Literature Student Text gallego melancholy Like Nestor are most of his compatriots who work on poorly paid day jobs struggle to raise families and to maintain the spirit of the homeland in an alien land Many of his friends were that way troubled souls They would always seem happy especially when they d talk about women and music but when they had finished floating through the euphoric layer of their sufferings they opened their eyes in a world of pure sadness and pain This sadness is in stark contrast with the carnival atmosphere of the dancing halls but maybe it explains the wild abandon of these people to the rhythms of the mambo their sentimentality and their readiness to come together in moments of need And in explains why their lives are best expressed trough the music they compose sing at all hours of the day dance and even make love to It may also explain the attraction exercised by the African drumbeats the raw emotions and the joy for life on the restrained and self conscious American audience in the 1950 s songs written to take the listeners back to the plazas of small towns in Cuba to Havana to past moments of courtship and love passion and a way of life that was fading from existence His and Nestor s songs were or less typical of the songwriting of that day ballads boleros and an infinite variety of fast dance numbers son montunosuarachas merengues Cheyenne: A Sweet Historical Romance guaracha mambos son pregones The compositions capturing the moments of youthful cockiness A thousand women have I continually satisfied because I am an amorous man Songs about flirtation magic blushing brides cheating husbands cuckolds and the cuckolded flirtatious beauties humiliation Happy sad fast and slowAnd there were songs about torment beyond all sorrows From a structural perspective the history of the two brother first in Cuba and later in New York is told through the songs they composed and sung together with their band The Mambo Kings An elderly Cesar reminisces alone and drunk in a cheap hotel room listening to old 78 s self printed records thinking back to thelory days of white silken suits Panama hats *and endless nights of revelry spicy food loud music voluptuous women *endless nights of revelry spicy food loud music voluptuous women companionship What did he have A few pictures from Cuba a wall filled with autographed pictures a headful of memories sometimes scrambled like eggsAgain he remembers back to long ago and his Papi in Cuba saying You become a musician and you ll be a poor man all your life The story is non linear following Cesar s scrambled train of thought jumping forward and backward in time yet the individual snapshots are painstakingly and lovingly expanded added upon and filled with extravagant minute details by Oscar Hijuelos until they become a panoramic and comprehensive big canvas memorial to the times and the people of Little Havana to the legacy of a Cuban lifestyle that was disappearing fast under the pressure of revolutionary changes and modern values This The Battle of Maldon and Other Old English Poems generation has lost its sense of elegance exclaims Cesar in 1970 looking at the picture of the dapper young men with immaculate suits and pencil thin moustaches remembering huge ballrooms with sparkling chandeliers and ladies in eveningowns sighing over past memories of dainty underwear and high heeled shapely legs Most of all Cesar is missing his brother and his music the energy and the resilience that he took for E.E. Cummings: The Art of His Poetry granted in his youth He s paying the price now for all those fat cigars andlasses of rum for the sleepless nights and casual amorous encounters he d lied
"So Often To Women "often to women the years had mistreated and misunderstood so many women that he had resigned himself to forgetting about love and romance those very things he used to put in songs I was already a Cubanophile as one of the followers of the Mambo Kings is described in the book long before I read the present novel It started as with many of my contemporaries courtesy of the Buena Vista Social Club and the likes of Ibrahim Ferrer Compay Segundo and
Gonzales I was thus already predisposed to enjoy Oscar Hijuelo s history and to look forward to the many tidbits information and cameo appearances of popular artists from the island and from the American scene The music already spoke to me of the people and of their passion of their laughter and of their sadness walking hand in hand Hijuelos didn t disappoint but I think I can understand how another reader may view the baroue extravagance of the descriptive passages the almost academic essays on the origins inspiration and style of the songs the pervasive melancholy of the whole presentation as a drag and as self indulgence on the part of a writer who is unable to Black Wings of Cthulhu get detached enough from his subject I confess that even for me it was not a smooth ride and the density of the text often put me to sleep after a day at work The chronic depression of the two brothers started toet annoying especially in the second half of the novel the one that focuses not on the 1950 s dance craze but on the later decadence of a once macho man The mistreatment of women may be consistent with the period described but it weights uncomfortably on the modern reader There are numerous explicit sexual passages necessary in my opinion to underline the character types but liable to put stress on the susceptible readers Finally for a book that claims to be apolitical Hijuelos through the mouthpiece of Cesar Castillo unleashes uite vicious attacks on Castro and his revolutionaries Girl on the Verge going so far as to mourn for Batista and to reproduce verbatim several of the most egregious pi. Ten en las estrellas de la noche en las salas de baile donde ue su oruesta toca la música sensual y vibrante ue lesana el título de Los Reyes del Mambo Esta es su juventud una época ue treint. ,Ruben Gonzales I was thus already predisposed to enjoy Oscar Hijuelo s history and to look forward to the many tidbits