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Publisher's Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is a contemporary American classic, a book that still captivates and inspires 20 years after its first publication. Now, in Beautiful María of My Soul, Oscar Hijuelos returns to this indelible story, to tell it from the point of view of its beloved heroine, María.

She’s 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 60s and living in Miami with her pediatrician daughter, Teresa, María remains a beauty, still capable of turning heads. But she has never forgotten Nestor, and as she thinks back to her days—and nights—in Havana, an entirely new perspective on the Mambo Kings story unfolds.

©2010 Oscar Hijuelos (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“By turns street smart and lyrical, impassioned and reflective…a rich and provocative book—a moving portrait." (New York Times)
“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 fate.” (Amy Tan, best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club)
“María enchants….Her story is one of fierce love, luscious sex, and otherworldly beauty, but also of heartbreak and hardness.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Rene
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 03-04-11

So this is the Real Maria

I love the Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. The movie and the soundtrack were good as well. But it left you wondering what Maria was really like. What was it about her that drove Nestor loco and sad. Well here it is. Not as great as MKPSOL but it fills the gaps to the original book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful, rich, warm, engaging.

A rich, intensely written and narrated novel. Oscar Hijuelos' descriptions are lyrical, sensual and bold, his characters fully developed, touching and believable. Narrator Armando Duran is a master of nuanced delivery, capturing emotion and inflection, engaging the listener by his precise and seamless shifting between Cuban and American accents among the characters. A wonderful listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Maria vain and not very sympathetic.

This book was okay did not get interesting till the daughter becomes the main chsracter.