Extended Audio Sample

Download Beautiful María of My Soul Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Beautiful María of My Soul, by Oscar Hijuelos Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (332 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Oscar Hijuelos Narrator: Armando Durán Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $22.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is a contemporary American classic, a book that still captivates and inspires readers more than twenty years after its first publication. Now, in Beautiful Maria of My Soul, Oscar Hijuelos returns to this indelible story, to tell it from the point of view of its beloved heroine, María.

She’s the great Cuban beauty who stole musician Nestor Castillo’s heart and broke it, inspiring him to write the Mambo Kings’ biggest hit, “Beautiful María of My Soul.” Now in her sixties and living in Miami with her pediatrician daughter, Teresa, María remains a beauty, still capable of turning heads. But she has never forgotten Nestor, and as she thinks back to her days—and nights—in Havana, an entirely new perspective on the Mambo Kings story unfolds.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “I fell instantly in love with the glorious soul of Beautiful María of My Soul. Hijuelos has created and brought to life two beloved characters, a heart-stealing heroine and Havana during an epoch of changing fate.”

    Amy Tan

  • “María enchants whether she’s dancing in clubs, appearing in advertisements, or walking the sweltering streets of Havana. Her story is one of fierce love, luscious sex, and otherworldly beauty, but also of heartbreak and hardness…Hijuelos’ Havana is as much a full-fleshed character as María as it endures the rise of Castro and the mass exodus of Cubans to Miami in the 1960s. An intelligent and playful ending caps off a vivid story that should delight readers of The Mambo Kings and enthrall those new to Hijuelos’ imaginative and florid voice.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Armando Durán’s interpretation couldn’t be more sensitive, more evocative, or more erotic as he tackles the complexities and contradictions of Beautiful Maria…Durán maintains a narrator’s objective distance yet creates unforgettable characters brimming with passion…Durán’s sensual performance will melt your earbuds. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Yes, it is a story of grand passion found, lost, and mourned, but it is also the story of a young, illiterate girl escaping a life of rural poverty and making a career for herself in the city. Nobody writes sex scenes like Hijuelos—graphic and poetic at once, a symphony of lush language, both sweaty and transcendent—but he brings the same passion to his descriptions of María…To fully appreciate this novel’s wondrous language and its multifaceted story, it needs to be read in tandem with Mambo Kings; to do otherwise would be like listening to a symphony through only one speaker.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The novel, which takes Maria from Havana to Miami and from uneducated girl to experienced woman, is elegantly written and dramatic. Duran effortlessly switches from Cuban to American accents, masterfully representing the large cast, especially Cuban characters, who receive differing, recognizable voices. A rich and compelling performance.”


  • “A sequel to The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love that sings with the sweet sensuality of its predecessor…the novelist returns to tell the story of María, to render her as flesh and blood as well as exotic (and erotic) inspiration…the novel shows how the beautiful María chooses her destiny, rebels against it and makes peace with it. The prose combines the simplicity of a folk tale with the lyricism of a romantic balladeer and the depth of a philosopher, as it encompasses what María considers ‘her holy trinity: God, love, and death’…The result is a sequel that can be relished independently of the first volume while harmonizing with it. More than worth the wait.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • AKirkus Reviews’ Best BooksKirkus Reviews’ Best Books
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • ABooklist Top 10of2010: Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alecia | 2/20/2014

    " I read The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love years ago and enjoyed it very much. This novel about "beautiful Maria", a character in the first novel, tells her story in detail. I liked the book, but found it less compelling than the first. It is a highly sexualized tale, and it almost got a little boring in it's repetitive telling. I found it interesting how the author inserted himself in the last part of the book. He really feels close to his characters! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jody | 2/9/2014

    " Hijuelos' prose is great. But for a good part of this book he used that prose to lamely tie together extremely graphic sex scenes. It got old fast. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Leslie | 2/6/2014

    " A great sequel to The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Denise Psoinos | 1/28/2014

    " Almost finished. Love it and recommend it. I love the character Maria and her complexity and Hijuelos' honesty in writing. I love the honesty of the romance, the dirtyness of the sex scenes, the corruption, the sexism, everything and not trying to gloss it over. Also love the use of Spanish words throughout the dialogues that give you a more authentic look into the characters understanding them in thier native tongue. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations