Hijuelos, Oscar Jerome

Hijuelos, Oscar Jerome ēhwāˈlōs [key], 1951–2013, Cuban-American novelist, b. New York City, grad. City College (B.A., 1975; M.F.A., 1976). The son of Cuban immigrants, he typically wrote about the problems of immigrant families, sometimes tracing the changes in their lives over several generations. Our House in the Last World (1983), his first novel, follows a family from 1930s Havana to 1940s Spanish Harlem, where they fail to obtain the American dream. His breakthrough novel and best-known work, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1990, Pulitize Prize), traces the lives and careers of musician brothers who leave Cuba in search of success in America, a success that eventually eludes them. Written in a flowing style, with a thoroughly American cadence, his other novels include Mr. Ives's Christmas (1995), Empress of the Splendid Season (1999), A Simple Habana Melody (2002), the young-adult novel Dark Dude (2008), and Beautiful Maria of My Soul (2011).

See his memoir, Thoughts without Cigarettes (2011).

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