Our House in the Last World

Our House in the Last World Bearing all the hallmarks of Hijuelos s later work exuberance passion honesty and humor this debut novel was heralded on its publication twenty years ago as virtuoso writinga novel of great warmth

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Bearing all the hallmarks of Hijuelos s later work exuberance, passion, honesty, and humor this debut novel was heralded on its publication twenty years ago as virtuoso writinga novel of great warmth and tenderness New York Times Book Review Filled with the sights and sounds of Cuba s Oriente province and New York City, the music and films of the fifties, lusty fanBearing all the hallmarks of Hijuelos s later work exuberance, passion, honesty, and humor this debut novel was heralded on its publication twenty years ago as virtuoso writinga novel of great warmth and tenderness New York Times Book Review Filled with the sights and sounds of Cuba s Oriente province and New York City, the music and films of the fifties, lusty fantasies and the toughest of life s realities, it is the unforgettable story of Hector Santinio, the American born son of Cuban immigrants, who is haunted by tales of home a Cuba he has never seen and by the excesses and then the death of his loving father This edition includes a new autobiographical introduction by the author, reflecting on how he came to write Our House in the Last World, and a new afterword in which he comments on the story.

One thought on “Our House in the Last World”

  1. 3.5*** Hijuelos’ debut novel spans five decades, telling the story of the Santinio family from 1929 in Cuba to 1975 in New York. Alejo and Mercedes emigrate to New York City from Cuba in 1943, where he finds work as a cook in a fancy hotel and she tries to make a life in an apartment so far from her childhood estate. They have two sons, Horacio and Hector, who struggle with their own identities; are they Americans or Cubans? It is a love story, a family saga, a coming-of-age story, and a novel [...]

  2. What a treat to revisit Oscar Hijuelos by reading his first novel Our House in the Last World. Hijuelos writes with a rhythm that is unmistakable. It’s as if, as you read, there is a Cuban guitarist softly strumming in the background. Although he writes sometimes of brutality and heartache, Hijuelos provides a beautiful glimpse into what it means to be Cuban-American, to be thrust from one’s country, longing to retain your birthright yet wanting to make it in your new country. In Hijuelos’ [...]

  3. I have a great interest in both immigrant stories and New York stories, this book seems to check both of those boxes plus there was that reassurance of quality based on the author being a Pulitzer winner. Did it live up to expectations? Well, yes and no. The quality was there, most impressive for a debut novel, strong writing throughout, phenomenally nuanced characterization, the works, but the plot was justexhausting. And this primarily had to do with the fact that the family the book follows t [...]

  4. The Santinio family is a hot mess. The fascinating characters and family dynamics makes this an amazing novel.Alejo and Mercedes Santinio move from Cuba to New York. They had comfortable lives and loving families in Cuba, but left hoping to make a fortune that never materializes. Alejo is a force of nature. People are drawn to him. Women like him and he has many friends. He gives money away to look like a big shot even though he can't afford it. People he helps become successful and rich, while [...]

  5. The writing is pretty solid, and downright poetic in spots — particularly the reminiscences of his mother, and the family's original heritage. However, I did feel as a reader that I was skipping around through time and space; it felt a bit 'loose'.I would have liked maybe some more dialog snippets, or more pieces of color. I felt as if I was being talked at, and even though a certain amount of that is to be expected for this type of work, I feel the author had the skill and capacity to make th [...]

  6. I stumbled upon this book through BookBubs and was really drawn into the author's world of early Cuba and the story of his parents life. He takes us with such gentle touches and light humor through the way of life in Cuba before Castro for his mother and father. They lived very different lives and when they finally came together and moved to New York we saw the changes in the world around them. All the characters are so real and believable, because of course this is Oscar Hijuelos writing this, [...]

  7. Our House in the Last World is the fictional novel taking place in Cuba before the revolution through the time of the overthrow of Batista and the subsequent takeover by Fidel Castro and the effects on the people. It addresses the immigrant experience as the novel spans the lives of one family that emigrated from Cuba to Miami and New York with all of the attendant struggles. One of my favorite authors, this was the first book by Hijuelos, filled with the haunting and beautiful lyrics he is know [...]

  8. Wow, typos galore. I was not particularly enchanted by this story. The abuse between the husband and wife, and then the children was all very clearly written, but the story itself was just okay. The ending especially was lagging for me. The last two sections (or chapters) just dragged on and on. I would have rather had a short and sweet epilogue rather than the gibberish. I'm sure there was some deeper meaning to all that, but I had lost my patience in reading the end of the book far before that [...]

  9. This autobiographical novel covers a lot of ground -- too much, I think, as it leaps from episode to episode over several decades in one family's experience moving from Cuba to NYC. It's like a greatest hits album. I liked parts of it quite a lot, and when I went to a reading Hijuelos did (from his memoir, which is how I know the novel is based on his own life), I liked him quite a lot, so I look forward to trying another of his books soon.

  10. My first book by Hijuelos, the Cuban-American author, and I found it to be a beautiful meditation on family, on being second generation, on ghosts of home and of beloved parents. The novel contains complex portraits of the central characters' parents, who suffered and who caused each other and their children to suffer, but who also loved. I look forward to reading more of Hijuelos's work.

  11. A very flawed first novel, but one that shows the hallmarks of his later work: florid prose, sympathetic rendering of imperfect characters, knockout set pieces and great narrative flow. I'm very impressed that he made the jump from this to the Mambo Kings in five years. Tremendous growth. I gave this four stars instead of the two and a half it deserves because I'm such a devoted fan of his work.

  12. The most depressing book I've ever read. Promising start but then it was just page after page of drunk, abusive and crazy people. Weird descriptions repeated over and over happy are mice? Apparently the happiest creatures on earth. Not a redeeming thing about any character. Easy to see it was a college student writing what he thought would be a great novel. He was incorrect.

  13. Exceptional read! Ranks right there with "Mambo Kings" for my taste. Hijuelos is truly an "Urban Poet" who paints a colorful canvas in detailing the immigrant experience.I thought the author vividly brought to life one family's struggle with getting acclimated to the new world while retaining their Cuban rootsperb!!

  14. My favourite part is the tenderness with which OH reminisces about what it was like to write his first book. Other than with a nostalgic and indulging eye, it is not quite possible to read this after you've been knocked out by his more mature work.

  15. Nope, this book doesn't cut it for me. Just because an author has one a Pulitzer Prize for a later work, it doesn't mean his first attempt is worth reading. I couldn't wait to escape the pages of this book.

  16. I finished this book, but cannot say that I enjoyed it. A depressing story! The last few pages really went way out there, and seemed disconnected from the rest of the story. The rating is really only 2.5 stars.

  17. As a first generation Cuban American I had high expectations for this book. The similarities in upbringing and values were evident. However, the story is at times disjointed and the characters are not always likable.

  18. If it were available I would rate this 3.5 stars. I generally liked this book but like Mambo Kings I found that Hijuelos' writing is repetitive. Unlike Mambo kings he was able to keep this book to a reasonable length. It was definitely worth the $1 I spent on the book.

  19. beautifully observed story of a cuban family's cultural shift from upper middle class cuban's to working class immigrant americans.

  20. 2.5 stars; won't read again. At the end, I found myself skimming through large sections because I was no longer interested in the main characters.

  21. PERFECTLY written! Most authentic portrayal of a struggle with the duality of being a first generation American. Absolutely loved it!

  22. Questions the American Dream for all Cuban Americans. Painfull experiences shape this novel and cause me to question just how autobiographical it is. (maybe more than the author would admit)

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