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Download The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Audiobook, by Oscar Hijuelos
3.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 53.18 out of 5 3.18 (34 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Oscar Hijuelos Narrator: E. G. Marshall Publisher: Phoenix Books Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN:
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In 1949 - when the dance rage is the mambo - two young Cuban musicians, recent immigrants, make their way up to the grand stage of New York. The Castillo brothers, workers by day, become night stars of the dance halls, where their orchestra plays the lush, sensuous, pulsing music that earns them the title of Mambo Kings. Oscar Hijuelos' marvelous portrait of the Castillo brothers, their families, their fellow musicians and lovers, their triumphs and tragedies, brings to life the sights and sounds of an era in music and an unsung moment in American life.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adele Goetz | 2/17/2014

    " Oscar Hijuelos has an amazing way with language and description, which I loved...and hated. The book just felt so very long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 2/17/2014

    " Pulitzer Prize winner - for a reason. A fictional account of two brothers' coming to America from Cuba. Exquisite writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 2/13/2014

    " Sensual, rich prose, glimpse into Cuban culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 2/9/2014

    " Hot and frenetic like the music itself, this is the life story of a Mambo King from his macho escapades as a young immigrant in New York in the 1940s and 50s to his septic old age, alone in a hotel room with his records. It's a racy and timely depiction of the latino music scene in Harlem in the middle of the last century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 2/3/2014

    " Very good writing, very sensual, immerses you in the 1930s NYC Cuban life. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liana | 1/10/2014

    " I remember reading this several years ago, for an independent study. I disliked it so much I debated whether to just close the book or attempt to finish it. I finished it and felt no different. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 1/8/2014

    " The prose was gorgeous, and the flashback style was very emotional, but it was almost a little too much for me at times. I loved the setting and the way he so richly wove the culture of the time into the story, as well as his talent for putting feelings into words, but at times it became somewhat pointless. The storyline could be clear and easy to follow, or it could be a jumble of dancing and sex and random memories that could make your head hurt a litle if you really tried to understand it. Despite that, I'll be picking up another book by the author to see what his other stuff is like- it's definitely a book that makes you think. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 1/6/2014

    " This book is beautifully written. I love Hijuelos' style. He has a gift for painting an image of another era and imbuing it with all the sounds, smells and sensations that go along with it. His characters are heartbreakingly real flawed human beings. I loved the musicality of his prose. And the melancholic memories of an old man and former musician who once enjoyed semi- fame and admiration. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is about many things: family, love, lust, Cuban culture, the life of musicians, food, women, dance, mourning, life choices, and mortality. It follows the life trajectory of the Castillo brothers, Cesar and Nestor who put together a band, The Mambo Kings, and who eventually rise to a level of fame through Nestor's song, Beautiful Maria of My Soul. If I have any criticism, it is that the sexual descriptions get to be excessive. Admittedly, the reader feels Cesar Castillo's decline in old age and his confrontation with the realization of his own mortality, all the more. Upon completing the book though, I realized why it won a Pulitzer. The way Hijuelos weaves his tale in and out of beautiful and sad memories of the past and the present, and the way he makes you care about the Castillo's is really...something. I lack the proper term. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tara C | 1/5/2014

    " Some good prose and descriptions, mostly of the past / childhood of Ceasar. Not that compelling to read, easy to put away, read another book and come back to later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 12/26/2013

    " Too sexually explicit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 12/7/2013

    " Loved this book about 2 Cuban brothers trying to make it in America in the 50's and their brush with fame. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Darcy | 10/28/2013

    " This book is descriptive and well developed. All in all, it's very interesting. Ummm...one exception: it is rather depressing. The plot is like a male version of Madame Bovary. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margaret | 10/19/2013

    " This book is less a novel than it is a music history essay. Plot and character development are sorely missing here. But it is a great transport to another era. I agree with other reviewers here. Don't know why it won the Pulitzer! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 10/6/2013

    " This is a great novel - it's full of sex and longing and bad behavior. It's also twice as long as the film, which takes its story from the first half. Definitely a strong work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 8/15/2013

    " It was a lovely book full of lyrical musings on life, love, death and the music that links it all together. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 James | 7/19/2013

    " If you want to read 400 meandering pages about the huge penis of a repugnant, misogynist rapist, this is the book for you. If you are sane, skip it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy Daily | 7/7/2013

    " I loved the characters and the subject of this book but my biggest complaint is that it got repetitive. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 LeAndra | 6/2/2013

    " By far the worst book I have ever read in my life. If I could give this book a negative-star rating, I would. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 5/29/2013

    " Don't ever see the movie. It will ruin for you the amazing experience of reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 2/13/2013

    " Great story about two Cuban immigrants. Really interesting perspective. One of the best scenes that I've ever read in a book when one brother in unaware of cataclysmic changes happening to the other. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauriero | 2/7/2013

    " A mambo for the mind.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fred Gorrell | 10/23/2012

    " A lyrical telling of the story of some Cubans who migrated to New York and pursued careers as musicians. The juxtaposition of existential and mundane, modern and traditional, carnal and domestic, keeps the story alive and true. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Fay | 4/25/2012

    " I found this book boring. As others have said, 90% of the book is one guy talking about his sexual activities (not in a sexy way at all) and I found the book semi-pointless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 12/14/2011

    " A lush, sensual novel "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 9/21/2011

    " I liked the movie better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 F. | 5/9/2011

    " I enjoyed this work. Mr. Hijuelos captures the Cuban night performer scene in a cool way. He's a Hofstra boy! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liana | 5/7/2011

    " I remember reading this several years ago, for an independent study. I disliked it so much I debated whether to just close the book or attempt to finish it. I finished it and felt no different. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Debbie | 3/4/2011

    " Pulitzer level novels must have been slim in 1990. This was terrible. Too much sex. I realize that is painting an accurate picture of the mail chaacter, but i'm not interested in reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 2/18/2011

    " One of my all-time favorites. It absolutely earned and deserved it's Pullitzer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 1/8/2011

    " Great story about two Cuban immigrants. Really interesting perspective. One of the best scenes that I've ever read in a book when one brother in unaware of cataclysmic changes happening to the other. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathi | 12/19/2010

    " This is one of my favorites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 12/18/2010

    " Racy account of life in New York City for two Cuban immigrants that although keeps the reader engrossed with tales of racy adventures and womanizing tends to drag a bit towards the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 11/30/2010

    " I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from start to finish. The author Oscar Hijuelos lived in Rome and was a scholar of the American Academy in the '80's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 10/21/2010

    " Very good writing, very sensual, immerses you in the 1930s NYC Cuban life. "

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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.