Hijuelos was raised by his Cuban parents in New York City – a childhood reflected in his first novel, 1983’s Our House in the Last World.
His next novel was Mambo Kings. The book, which depicts the lives of two Cuban brothers who pursue their musical dreams in New York City, was made into a 1996 movie staring Antonio Banderas.
Mr. Ives’ Christmas, published in 1996, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Here’s a great review of the book from NPR’s Ray Suarez. He also wrote 2000’s Empress of the Splendid Season and 2008’s Dark Dude. His most recent book is his 2011 memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes.