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Extended Audio Sample Dark Dude Audiobook, 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 (353 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Oscar Hijuelos Narrator: Armando Durán Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538464076
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 From Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos comes an unforgettable journey about identity, choices, and the way in which we all struggle to accept our true selves. In gritty, clear prose, Dark Dude captures New York City in the 1960s—violent, decaying, slouching away from the American dream—and brings to life a character who has no choice but to head out west in search of something better.

Rico didn’t say good-bye. He didn’t leave a phone number. And he didn’t plan on coming back—ever. In the Midwest, Rico could blend in, his light hair and lighter skin disguising his background. He would no longer be the “dark dude,” the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he’s Latino, he almost stops being one. Except that he can never have an ordinary white kid’s life, because there are some things that can’t be left behind, things that will follow you a thousand miles away. When Rico discovers that picket-fenced apple-pie people can be just as violent and judgmental as the neighbors he left behind, he is forced to swallow an uncomfortable truth: no longer an outsider by his appearance, Rico is still an outsider.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[The] themes are classic—alienation, the search for identity—but his approach is pure Hijuelos: Cuban-American, musical and very, very funny…the inevitability of the conclusion doesn’t matter: it’s the smooth, jazzy flow of the narration, the slides between Rico’s rootlessness and the book’s strong sense of place that count.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[Hijuelos] proves himself to be a powerful, adept storyteller for teens…Frank, gritty, vibrant, and wholly absorbing, Rico’s story will hold teens with its celebration of friendship and its fundamental questions about life purpose, family responsibility, and the profound ways that experience shapes identity.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “With parallels to Huck Finn’s journey, Rico’s story of self-discovery is skillfully chronicled by Armando Durán, whose ease with accents is noteworthy. He seamlessly delivers the many Spanish phrases interspersed throughout the text and conveys Rico’s sense of alienation and bewilderment when he experiences injustice and random violence in the rural Midwestern community.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the 2009 ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • A 2009 New York Public Library Book for Teens
  • Winner of the 2009 International Latino Book Award for Best Young Adult Fiction
  • Selected for the Winter 2009 Kids' Indie Next List: Teens
  • A 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adults

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miss Lou the Reader | 2/18/2014

    " Yawn. Yikes at a few points. But yawn the rest. Interesting "new look" at multicultural YA literature? Not so sure. I suppose this first attempt to write for this age group fills in a gap, but I sure as heck need a nap. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joey | 2/15/2014

    " Dark Dude will bring you emotion. Personally I like that the main character is Cuban and and his best friends are Puerto Rican, like me. But Rico's point of view towards life is very interesting, His mother blames him for every thing, his dad is always drunk and telling him that he is going to send Rico to a boot camp. Even though Rico is Cuban he still looks white and because of that he gets jumped several times. The extremes he has to go to be away from all that pain is interesting. He gave up his family to be happy and in peace. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toni Bladholm | 2/4/2014

    " This book really makes you think about cultural clashes. I enjoyed the narrator! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Mustread | 1/20/2014

    " Cubano teen Rico who looks "white" deals with prejudice in NYC & Wisconsin, and searches for his identity while living as a runaway in Wisconsin after his family decides to send him to a military school. Great hitchhiking roadtrip description and interesting observations about the differences between life in NYC and a farm in Wisconsin. Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos writes a realistic novel about coming of age, life decisions, relationships with friends and parents. Rico reads The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and finds similarities to his own experiences. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beckett | 1/17/2014

    " Not my favorite, but I appreciate the premise, which is why I read it... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aramis | 1/15/2014

    " Great book with a Cuban protagonist that takes place in the late 60s/early 70s. Sex, drugs, and Cubans! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clay | 1/14/2014

    " Three and a half stars. The main character of this YA is a "Dark Dude" or Cubano who looks Caucasian and finds he doesn't really fit in to either world. The story's not quite as strong as the characters, but many have really stayed with me. Solid YA effort by an fine adult author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 1/8/2014

    " Fabulous, uplifting YA story of the power of friendship and self-belief. Young Cuban protagonist is real and flawed but ultimately grows up and understands where he came from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joann | 12/23/2013

    " YA coming of age story--great juxtaposition of NYC in the 60's and rural Wisconsin. Excellent writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen Hopkins | 9/17/2013

    " Well written literary novel, as would be expected from this author. Not sure YA readers will stay with the story, as it's largely missing action. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine Keleny | 5/14/2013

    " I was reading this for a mother-daughter book club I am in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alejandro Liendo | 12/12/2012

    " the book was crazy! all i got to say you have to read it if you want to know more about it, but i highly recommand "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 7/24/2012

    " A nice take on a YA coming-of-age story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doneen | 12/4/2011

    " Because this was written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, I had high hopes for it. I was a little disappointed, but since it's a Young Adults book, maybe I'm just too old to really appreciate it. I can see it being meaningful for a young Hispanic kid, which is who it's written for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 11/16/2011

    " While the writing style isn't exactly my fav- I enjoyed this book, the contrast between the atmosphere of New York and rural Wisconsin, the varied reactions to change, It was a pleasure watching Rico grow up. I can easily see this book winning some awards. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 8/12/2011

    " this book starts off talking about how this boy lives and how his friend won the lottery and he got some money out of it to "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matthew | 3/30/2011

    " Self indulgent garbage. Not worth reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 3/29/2011

    " I was reading this for a mother-daughter book club I am in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sonia | 11/19/2010

    " Great Story. A little too much unnecessary language for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julianne | 9/2/2010

    " It was an alright book, I expected more. The book is definitely a quick read, but I find the plot a bit lacking. There should have been more going on, in my opinion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tobyh | 7/28/2010

    " I wouldn't call Dark Dude a masterpiece, but there were defiantly interesting sections. I felt the author left out information that could have been helpful to the reader, for example Halloween night with Sheri. My favorite character was Jimmy, and I felt the author did a good job making him grow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 3/27/2010

    " Fabulous, uplifting YA story of the power of friendship and self-belief. Young Cuban protagonist is real and flawed but ultimately grows up and understands where he came from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taj | 3/21/2010

    " This book was amazing and i felt like it was speaking about me, i reccomend this book to any teenager in an urban or rural environment. "

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About the Author
Author Oscar Hijuelos

Oscar Hijuelos (1951–2013) was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the Rome Prize, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He was also nominated for the National Book Award.

About the Narrator

Armando Durán has appeared in films, television, and regional theaters throughout the West Coast. For the last decade he has been a member of the resident acting company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In 2009 he was named by AudioFile as Best Voice in Biography and History for his narration of Che Guevara. A native Californian, he divides his time between Los Angeles and Ashland, Oregon.