Oscar Hijuelos plans companion novel to his famous work

By AP Wire Services

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar Hijuelos is writing a companion novel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love” and also plans a memoir that will include his encounters with such musicians as Ruben Blades and Lou Reed.

The two books were announced jointly last week by Hyperion Books, which will publish the novel (“Beautiful Maria of My Soul”), and Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) that will release his memoir, “Thoughts Without Cigarettes.”

The son of Cuban immigrants, the 56-year-old Hijuelos became the fi rst Hispanic to win the fi ction Pulitzer when he was cited for “Mambo Kings,” which came out in 1990 and tells the story of musicians- brothers Nestor and Cesar Castillo.

The novel, which imagines the Castillos making a guest appearance on “I Love Lucy,” has sold more than 300,000 copies and was made into a feature fi lm and a musical.

“Beautiful Maria,” scheduled to come out in 2009, will focus on Nestor’s great love and inspiration of the Castillo’s most famous song, “Beautiful Maria of My Soul.

Hijuelos’ memoir is expected in 2010. His previous books include the novels “Our House in the Last World” and “Mr. Ives’ Christmas.”


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