on 6 January 2003
What a fabulous book - the story of two brothers, who emigrate to the US from Cuba seeking fame and fortune - sounds like a cliché, but this is one American dream that jumps off the page. It's a beautifully bittersweet tale; Hijuelos is a master of crafting a story of love, tragedy, passion - transforming the mundane into the sublime, and illustrating the moments of the brothers' lives so vividly that you can smell the rum, taste the kisses and hear the songs in one of the most lyrical books I've ever read.
on 9 January 2000
I first read this book in 1990 and have read it pretty much every year since then. Never before have I been so drawn into a novel, so much so that it's easy to imagine myself as a "friend" of the Castillo brothers who visits their world from time to time. Every scene and every character is described in exquisite detail along with a fabulous reconstruction of the spirit of the era. The book has an uncanny rhythm, just like like music which constantly plays in the background of every page. Do yourself a favour and read it too!
on 22 May 2005
I read this on holiday in France in 1993 and simply "couldn't put it down". A book to savour, Hijuelos' eye for 50's detail is as great as his skill in plotting the lives of Nestor and Cesar, two brothers who couldn't be more different but who spend their too-short lives each wishing they were more like the other. Moving, funny and sexy, the addictive storyline belies it's simplicity. Read it, then turn to page 1 and read it again.
on 22 August 2009
well, i wanted to read this book after having watched and liked the beautiful movie, But as for the book, it's mostly not about love as I assumed, but about sex with many details. You also get an idea of Cuban immigration and musical life in NY in those years.