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Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir

– tekijä: Oscar Hijuelos

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
809264,688 (3.88)6
In his first work of nonfiction, the author writes about the people and places that inspired his previous novels. Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, he introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry-writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often-prejudiced working class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved. With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, this work follows the author's subsequent quest for his true identity into adulthood, through college and beyond, a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction.--From publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
What Thoughts Without Cigarettes genuinely reminded me of was my childhood. Oscar Hijuelos has a very easy writing style that borders on conversation. I was taken back to the days where my grandfather used to sit around and tell stories about when he was young. Always interesting, sometimes a bit confusing, and maybe a little rambling, the stories were a part of who he was. While reading this I felt like I was transported back to that time. Except this time it was Oscar Hijuelos sitting there and sharing his history with me, and I was definitely paying attention.

I'm not a huge reader of memoirs to be honest. If I choose one, it has to hold my attention and to do that it has to be well-written. Hijuelos has a very straight, and frank writing style. Fans of memoirs will appreciate the confessional style with which he bears his soul to the reader. However this can also be a little confusing at times. There were paragraphs that I was presented with that were just one extremely long run on sentence. Also, it was tough sometimes to pin point key people in Hijelous' life, since he often ran on other tangents while telling a story. On the bright side, his writing is also very evocative and descriptive. While reading I could close my eyes and picture the run down apartment he grew up in, or the bars he frequented with their smoky rooms and sultry singers. That was definitely a key element to my appreciation of this memoir.

Even more than a story of his growing into a writer though, Thoughts Without Cigarettes is the story of a boy who becomes a man. A rags to riches tale if you will. What really drew me in was the fact that such an amazing author, such a lyrical writer, came from such a difficult life. Feeling like an outcast from your own culture is something that I was able to connect with personally, and I felt for him every step of the way in his explanation. However, Hijuelos not only shares his boyhood with us, but populates it with people who are vivid and true. Although I don't know a single one of these people personally, I feel like I met them simply through his descriptions of them. He isn't afraid to share both the good and parts of his life. Whether an event was for the better or the worse, it's all there in black and white.

I'm rambling now, so I'll wrap it up. For those of you out there who enjoy memoirs, and are looking for your next read, pick up Thoughts Without Cigarettes. Even if you aren't a huge fan of memoirs, this is a great one to start with. Oscar Hijuelos has a history that is definitely interesting. With some of the best descriptive writing I've seen, and a story that is deep and honest, it is well worth a read. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
Angela's Ashes Cuban spice ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Angela's Ashes Cuban spice ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
The memoir by the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos was an absolute delight that pulled me in from the first page. Hijuelos writes about his struggle with his identity and his journey to discover who he is both as a writer and even more fundamentally, as a person.
He begins by painting an almost dreamlike picture of his parent’s beginnings in their native Cuba. Shortly after their unlikely marriage in the 1940’s (neither family is thrilled with their union), they immigrate to Morningside Heights on New York’s Upper West Side. He recounts their struggles and adjustment to an entirely different kind of life both financially and culturally. Oscar and his brother are immersed in their family’s culture and language, which culminates in a trip the boys take with their mother back to Cuba. Though he was only four at the time, Hijuelos recounts the pure joy and freedom he experiences there. While the trip and his happy experiences there should have instilled in him, a love of his ancestral home, he develops nephritis and upon returning to the U.S., is confined for a year to a convalescent hospital in Connecticut. The experience leaves him isolated and cut off from both his family and culture. One way this rupture is manifest is that upon his return home, he no longer speaks Spanish.
Hijuelos describes further attempts at independence from both his overprotective mother and his family in general as he grows up in a dangerous time and place. He witnesses what happens to his neighborhood as Columbia University expands & the university dispossesses huge swaths of neighborhood residents. What had been an economically and culturally diverse neighborhood, replete with Columbia professors, working class and middle class residents, becomes a dangerous, marginalized and crime ridden area. Hijuelos rejects his culture and his home and essentially becomes a streetwise *hood*, both preying and being preyed upon. Eventually, to even his surprise, he enrolls in City College. It is there that he meets and is mentored by the likes of Donald Barthelme and Susan Sontag and discovers writing. It is more or less through this discovery that he re-discovers and comes to appreciate and love both his roots and his family.
At times, like a contemporary Proust, his memories are sparked by the foods that symbolize his relationship with each of his parents, with his community and culture. Hijuelos’s writing style is conversational and often funny (complete with little asides to both the reader and those to whom he is referring). His eventual embrace of his personal and cultural heritage is told in an informal and earthy style and in the end, had me in tears. ( )
2 ääni plt | Jan 8, 2013 |
Love all things, Oscar Hijuelos- Where ever he takes me, I go wellingly. Always enjoying the trip. He writes like the perfect drink, Smooth, Freshing and oh, so satisifing. Not good to write about the narrative, just invite You to set back, and enjoy what He has chose to tell You. ( )
  samcoy | May 6, 2012 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
the memoir veers dangerously toward losing the reader as Hijuelos writes about long-dead relatives in Cuba .. tedium notwithstanding, there are some moments of family lore that do fascinate.
 
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Ensimmäiset sanat
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
Kirjan kehujat
Alkuteoksen kieli
Canonical DDC/MDS

Viittaukset tähän teokseen muissa lähteissä.

Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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In his first work of nonfiction, the author writes about the people and places that inspired his previous novels. Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, he introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry-writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often-prejudiced working class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved. With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, this work follows the author's subsequent quest for his true identity into adulthood, through college and beyond, a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction.--From publisher description.

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