Foreword by Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 16, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
In The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, María is 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, María García y Cifuentes is the lady behind the song, living as an exile in Miami. But while she left Cuba decades ago, she has never forgotten Nestor.
We now see the Mambo Kings’ story through Maria’s eyes—and as she thinks back to her days and nights in Havana, an entirely new perspective on the story unfolds. We meet her as an illiterate young woman with unspeakable, head-turning beauty who meets and falls in love with Nestor in Havana, but ultimately chooses to stay involved with a cruel, wealthy lover.
When the Cuban Revolution intervenes, Maria and her daughter seek refuge in Miami. And as she finds community with other Cuban women and begins to take lessons at a local college, Maria finally goes from muse to the writer of her own story.
Beautiful María of My Soul is a stunning act of reinvention, and another contemporary classic from an extraordinarily talented writer.
Includes a Reading Group Guide.
"I fell instantly in love with the glorious soul of Beautiful Maria of my Soul. Hijuelos has created and brought to life two beloved characters, a heart-stealing heroine and Havana during an epoch of changing life."Amy Tan, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife
"Beautiful Maria is the Queen of the Mambo Kings! Oscar Hijuelos brings this magnificent character to life in this lyrical novel."Gay Talese, author of A Writer's Life
"[A] warm, exuberant triumph . . . Savor the mysterious power of a master's pentimento."Los Angeles Times
"It takes a lot of nerve and skill to pull off something as rich as Beautiful Maria of my Soul, but pull it off as Hijuelos does."Cleveland Plain Dealer
"An intelligent and playful ending caps off a vivid story that should delight readers of The Mambo Kings and enthrall those new to Hijuelos's imaginative and florid voice."Publishers Weekly
"Vividly evokes the vibrant lost world of prerevolutionary Havana, the Cuban Revolution, and modern-day Miami . . . a welcome expansion on the much-loved The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, as well as a finely written novel in its own right."Bookmarks magazine
“Ultimately, these final encounters achieve a complex intimacy that has been decades in coming, born of palpable yearning, as is apt in a book that is, after all, named for a song of love.”Chattanooga Free Press
“An affecting portrait of broken dreams and regret, hope and despair, rediscovery and renewal, Beautiful María ties up the loose ends of a love story that died with Nestor in The Mambo Kings, but is still very much alive in the heart and soul of his song, 'Beautiful María.'"Bookpage
“ A Cuba-set tale of sex, beauty, and dancing, the vibrant sequel to The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love will guarantee you’re Havana good time this summer.”Entertainment Weekly
"A musically infused tale reflecting the boleros’ themes of love and longing.”AARP
- On Sale
- Jan 16, 2024
- Page Count
- 336 pages
- Grand Central Publishing