Thoughts without Cigarettes: A Memoir (Google eBook)

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Penguin, Jun 2, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages
23 Reviews
A beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns his pen to the real people and places that have influenced his life and literature.  A comprehensive look into the mind of a writer.

Born in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Oscar Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry-writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of a working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship with his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn with his mother in pre-Castro Cuba, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved.

With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, Thoughts Without Cigarettes follows Hijuelos's subsequent quest for his true identity a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction, and which finds its most glorious expression in his best-known book,The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Illuminating the most dazzling scenes from his novels, Thoughts Without Cigarettes reveals the true stories and indelible memories that shaped a literary genius.


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Hijuelos' writing is masterful. - Goodreads
Update** I am highly disappointed with this selection. - Goodreads
It also lent a dream like quality to the prose. - Goodreads
A comprehensive look into the mind of a writer. -
Hijuelos has a very straight, and frank writing style. - Goodreads
I'm very fond of Oscar Hijuelos' writing. - LibraryThing

Review: Thoughts Without Cigarettes

User Review  - Michael - Goodreads

I liked this book. It was an interesting story of a writer, of a cubano, of a young man growing up in the fifties and sixties. His picture of his life was one that revealed a world to me that I would ... Read full review

Review: Thoughts Without Cigarettes

User Review  - Cynthia - Goodreads

What a wonderful read! This was a random pick of mine, I'd never heard of Oscar Hijuelos before. Although The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love seemed vaguely familiar. His memoir was delightful, his ... Read full review

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PART ONE The Way Some Things Worked
A Few Notes on My Past
Some Moments of Freedom
Childhood Ends
PART TWO What Happened Afterward
My Two Selves
My Life on Madison Avenue
Our House in the Last World
Another Book

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About the author (2011)

Oscar Hijuelos is the international bestselling author of eight novels, including The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, for which he became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also has received the Rome Prize as well as prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information