CDN$ 19.00
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Thoughts without Cigarett... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Thoughts without Cigarettes: A Memoir Paperback – Jun 5 2012

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, Jun 5 2012
CDN$ 19.00
CDN$ 3.83 CDN$ 0.53

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avery (June 5 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592407188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592407187
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,423,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description


“In Thoughts Without Cigarettes, a brilliant novelist reveals what makes him tick and where he and all his characters have come from, offering us a mesmerizing glimpse of that mystical realm where the grittiest of realities are transformed into art and memories are redeemed.”
—Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana

“In this memoir Oscar Hijuelos achieves the miracle of transforming ordinary daily events into extraordinary happenings while recovering the lost time of childhood. He shines a light on the traumatic experience of being a Cuban forced to abandon his native language before becoming an American writer, a process which ironically draws him back to his roots.”
—José Miguel Oviedo

“In Thoughts Without Cigarettes, Hijuelos revisits Oscar the child, the adolescent, the man, and finally the writer, in self-effacing, humorous, and sometimes heartbreaking moments that remind us why he’s one of our most treasured contemporary authors.”
—Esmeralda Santiago, author of Conquistadora and When I Was Puerto Rican

“Oscar Hijuelos looks back at his own life, and brings the same fine-grained detail, and prodigious powers of observation that mark his novels. He spares no one, least of all himself, in taking us from the isolation of a sick little boy to the success of a novelist just breaking big on the national scene. Oscar introduces us to great characters--including himself--and a great city during challenging times. That Thoughts Without Cigarettes reads like a novel will come as no surprise to Hijuelos fans.” 
—Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS Newshour

“Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Hijuelos proves himself again with his autobiography… Readers who enjoyed Hijuelos’ novels will enjoy his memoir, a revelation of the personal sources of most of his fiction.”
Library Journal

About the Author

Oscar Hijuelos is the international bestselling author of eight novels, including The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, for which he became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He also has received the Rome Prize as well as prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in New York City.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6eba018) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6d49ca8) out of 5 stars The Making of a Novelist Oct. 24 2011
By rejoyce - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oscar Hijuelos' memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes, is a vibrant, absorbing look at the life that produced novels such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and Our House in the Last World, Hijuelos' first novel. The son of a working class Cuban immigrant father and an irrepressible, self-involved poet-mother, the author grew up in the interracial Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York that abuts Columbia University and East Harlem.

Hijuelos describes how he contracted nephritis during an otherwise idyllic visit to Cuba, and the subsequent year-long stay in a Connecticut hospital, which resulted in his estrangement from the Spanish language, his Cuban American identity, and the neighborhood. Despite his intense loneliness and alienation, Hijuelos doggedly made himself into a novelist, studying with Susan Sontag and Donald Barthelme at the City College of New York, composing his first novel nights and weekends while working at an advertising agency. The novel was favorably reviewed, including in The New York Times, but sold modestly.

While on an unexpected Prix de Rome fellowship, stimulated by the lush Mediterranean environment and a Korean girlfriend, Hijuelos started working on what would become The Mambo Kings. After two years in Italy, he returned to New York only to find a bill for overdue IRS back taxes. He was only able to resolve the situation when his agent negotiated an advance for his second novel with Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

In 1990 The Mambo Kings Plays Songs of Love was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and Hijuelos became the first Latino author to win the coveted honor. This section should be enlightening and inspiring for any fan of the novels or aspiring writer as an account of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles a professional novelist encountered in his trade--familial obligations, work, failed marriage, unstable neighbors, drug use--and that breathed disordered life into the books.

If there are fond remembrances of other writers such as Barthelme, Sontag and Frederick Tuten, it should also be noted that the memoir constitutes a settling of scores. Hijuelos recalls the indignities a light-skinned Hispanic writer experienced, elevated from obscurity into the highest echelon of the literary pantheon. Fame came at a psychological and social cost; this memoir is shot through with sorrow, anger and disillusionment about the world of letters. Hijuelos is painfully candid, too, about his divided self: one-part Bohemian hipster, one part pensive observer. The prose in Thoughts Without Cigarettes has a reflective ease even as Hijuelos' syntax has become more baroque. It's a life recollected in tranquillity. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6e40f24) out of 5 stars Superb recounting of road to success Dec 17 2012
By Ira Krawitz - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oscar Hijuelos careful tracks the highs and lows - emotionally, physically and professionally - as he finds his true passion and calling - writing about his Cuban roots and their relationship to his parents immigration to the US prior to his birth. Written candidly and in a self-deprecating manner, Thoughts Without Cigarettes demonstrates that the path to a Pulitzer Prize is built through hard work, dedication, failures and self-doubts but accompanied by a relentless drive to succeed. A wonderful memoir.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6cab390) out of 5 stars Saw this guy on book TV Aug. 16 2011
By larryfine - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Some of the authors interviewed on CSPAN are senile, or pompous, or ditzy, but this guy gave direct answers to questions put to him, so I decided to read his book. Its a good read about him growing up in NYC, his Cuban background, his writing struggles, and difficulties with his health and family. I would recommend this book, and now try will read his pornographic novel, the Mambo Kings. I'm surprised no other customers reviewed this book, and I think the author would be disappointed by this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6e5f948) out of 5 stars A wonderful man April 30 2014
By shelley - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully written. Met Oscar Hijuelos and he was down to earth and warm. I read this book shortly after his untimely death. Made it a very poignant read.
HASH(0xa6e4ae7c) out of 5 stars Witness To Literary History In New York Nov. 20 2015
By Will Harvey - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
To my knowledge this is the only book anywhere that puts at City College of New York at the same time in the same office building, William S. Burroughs, Donald Barthelme and Joseph Heller! The book is needed for your library for no other reason....even if you cannot see the value of tracing the interesting life a Cuban immigrant into the U.S. and a Mambo be able to point to this fascinating fact.