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Publisher's Summary

In 1949 - when the dance rage is the mambo - two young Cuban musicians, recent immigrants, make their way up to the grand stage of New York. The Castillo brothers, workers by day, become night stars of the dance halls, where their orchestra plays the lush, sensuous, pulsing music that earns them the title of Mambo Kings. Oscar Hijuelos’ marvelous portrait of the Castillo brothers, their families, their fellow musicians and lovers, their triumphs and tragedies, brings to life the sights and sounds of an era in music and an unsung moment in American life.

©1991 Oscar Hijuelos (P)2000 Phoenix

Critic Reviews

  • Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1990

"Hijuelos's pure storytelling skills commission every incident with a life and breath of its own." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Poor production value

I listened to this story a long time ago (way before Audible.com) andI loved it. However, this recording is SO different I wouldn't have recognized it. E. G Marshall is so short of breath and every gasp is heard. In fact that is ALL I could hear and had to stop early. Sad, truly sad

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Strange choice for narrator

The novel (even in this abridgement) is marvelous, a compassionate gaze into a human soul. E.G. Marshal, undoubtedly a great actor, does not serve the story well; he's sometimes out of breath and he doesn't bring much character or color to the prose

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Could not tolerate the narrator's voice

This book might be okay read by someone else, but the the reader's voice was so distracting it was impossible to pay attention. You can hear him take breaths and he reads with in a flat and hurried manner, making it seem like he's reading a prologue with the real story yet to come. A serious disappointment. I could t even make it through this short novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Audio skipped many details but it's still good

This audio skipped many details written in the original book but it's still very good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, but he skipped parts

The person narrating skipped quite a few lines. probably to conserve space, but it was annoying

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

terrible quality abridged book

great story but surprise... it's abridged. terrible quality and the narrator sounds like he has emphysema. there were parts of the book that word just garbled. Audible should not sell this book it's that bad. But a beautiful story beautifully written

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Read this novel, don't listen to it

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

E. G. Marshall is a terrible reader and manages to make an interesting narrative dull and mundane. By contrast, Armando Durán, who narrated Beautiful Maria of My Soul, does a stunning job: I wanted to just keep listening to his voice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wanna go to Havana? read this book

sad, exciting, and surprising. not an easy read or a fast read, but a very good one.