Soulfully evocative and painfully beautiful glimpse into the world of two Cuban immigrant musicians who come to this country in 1949. The book is alive with the sounds and feel of Cuban music and provided a fascinating portrait of a culture I was not familiar with. The book throbbed with passion and timid readers may be alarmed by the graphic descriptions of the Mambo King's extremely active sex life! Nevertheless this is one fantastic book, gorgeously written and deeply moving.
The story attempts to portrays a very thin slice of life: the alleged life of Cuban musicians in exile, and I'm not sure why it merited a Pulitzer Prize. But I read it with interest to the end because the characters were so well developed. If you saw the movie, do not compare the movie with the book. We saw the movie last night. The movie was really shallow by comparison to the book. The characters in the book are more fully developed; sometimes to their detriment. It was a worthy read, but difficult to maintain sympathy for the major character.
This is a pretty cool book that is supposed to read like songs off a record. The main character is a fun-loving, hypersexual, mambo singer reviewing his life as he basically kills himself with whiskey in a hotel room. He returns to a hotel room where he has fond memories of sexual exploits to listen to records and reflect on his life. I kept trying to figure out if I liked this guy as I read the book. He is egotistical and misogynistic but he's Cuban and he was raised by an abusive father. He loves his mother deeply and I think he's truly a good man but works through his issues by exploiting women & drinking whiskey. I really liked the writing style it floats in and out through different time periods of his life so you feel like you're really reflecting along with him.
Wonderful. You will want to listen to Cuban music and eat Cubin food after you read it!
Probably not my favorite of the Pulitzers, but it's a quality book nevertheless.