Reissues of ‘Mambo Kings’ and other Hijuelos novels are planned

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Lori Carlson Hijuelos, the wife of Oscar Hijuelos, was on a mission to ensure he is not forgotten since his death in 2013.

She said, “Everyday this has been my goal,” on Thursday when Grand Central Publishing announced that the new paperback editions of “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love” (and other titles by Hijuelos) will be published by Grand Central Publishing over a period of two years, with publication beginning in 2023.

His debut book, “Mambo Kings”, which won the Pulitzer in 1990 was reissued in October 2023. The Hijuelos will also reprint “Beautiful Maria of My Soul”, “Our House in the Last World” as well as “Empress of the Splendid season”.

Gretchen Young, Grand Central Vice President and Executive editor, said that it was an extraordinary honor to play a part in sharing the literary legacy Oscar Hijuelos’s with new generations of readers.

“Mambo Kings,” will be available as a Hijuelos book in a single hardcover volume at the Library of America this fall. This unofficial canon maker has reissued works from authors such as Mark Twain and Susan Sontag.

Hijuelos was a prolific publisher, including Grand Central in his lifetime. Many of his books were never reprinted. Carlson-Hijuelos claims that she spent many years trying to re-acquire the rights to his works in hopes of having them reissued in an orderly manner.

She said, “It may seem like nothing was ever happening with Oscar over these years, but it was actually the opposite. I was waking every day to get his rights to make this amazing event possible.”