Thoughts without Cigarettes: A Memoir

Front Cover
Penguin, Jun 2, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages
3 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.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - samcoy - LibraryThing

Love all things, Oscar Hijuelos- Where ever he takes me, I go wellingly. Always enjoying the trip. He writes like the perfect drink, Smooth, Freshing and oh, so satisifing. Not good to write about the narrative, just invite You to set back, and enjoy what He has chose to tell You. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TamiCPht - LibraryThing

Thank you First Reader's Giveaway for bringing this memoir to my attention. I found Hijuelos' narrative like talking about his personal history in the light of listening to a friend share their family ... Read full review


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

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

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