Monday, October 21, 2013

The ten best novels on music

Ted Gioia is a musician and author, and has published eight non-fiction books, most recently the bestselling The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire.

For The Daily Beast he came up with "ten novels that... are stellar works of fiction, but also manage to pull off the almost impossible task of capturing the magic of music on the printed page," including:
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
by Oscar Hijuelos

We love reading about the superstars of music. But the failed stars and might-have-beens make for even more compelling narratives. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from 1989 by the late Oscar Hijuelos, we encounter two Cuban brothers who enjoy a short-lived notoriety—performing a minor hit song on the I Love Lucy sitcom—and learn that even this brief taste of fame may be too much to handle. Hijuelos, who passed away a few days ago at age 62, was the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and this book deserves a spot on any short list of outstanding Hispanic-American fiction.
Read about the other books on Gioia's list.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love is among Lucette Lagnado's six favorite books and Leonardo Padura's top ten Cuban novels.

--Marshal Zeringue