Skip to main content

Oscar Hijuelos' "Mambo Kings."

Writer Oscar Hijuelos. His new novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, is the story of Cuban immigrant brothers who work by day at grimy, exhausting jobs in a meat-packing house, but by night, in silk suits and lace ties, play the mambo, the vibrant, footloose music of Cuba. Surrounded by musicians wearing vests decorated with sequined palm trees, the Castillo brothers try to secure their own version of the American Dream. Their lives climax when they appear on the "I Love Lucy Show,". Hijuelos' first novel, Our House In the Last World, was a largely autobiographical account of the Cuban immigrant experience.


Other segments from the episode on August 28, 1989

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, August 28, 1989: Interview with Raul Julia; Review of Louie Bellson's album "East Side Suite"; Interview with Oscar Hijuelos; Review of the television program "FM."


Transcript currently not available.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR


Daughter of Warhol star looks back on a bohemian childhood in the Chelsea Hotel

Alexandra Auder's mother, Viva, was one of Andy Warhol's muses. Growing up in Warhol's orbit meant Auder's childhood was an unusual one. For several years, Viva, Auder and Auder's younger half-sister, Gaby Hoffmann, lived in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. It was was famous for having been home to Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, Virgil Thomson, and Bob Dylan, among others.


This fake 'Jury Duty' really put James Marsden's improv chops on trial

In the series Jury Duty, a solar contractor named Ronald Gladden has agreed to participate in what he believes is a documentary about the experience of being a juror--but what Ronald doesn't know is that the whole thing is fake.


This Romanian film about immigration and vanishing jobs hits close to home

R.M.N. is based on an actual 2020 event in Ditrău, Romania, where 1,800 villagers voted to expel three Sri Lankans who worked at their local bakery.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue