In The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, Oscar Hijuelos brings to life the rambunctious Montez O'Brien family. In a small Pennsylvania town, Nelson O'Brien runs the Jewel Box Movie Theater, raising 14 daughters and a son with his wife, Mariela Montez. Through the eyes of Margarita, the eldest daughter, the lives, loves and tragedies of the Montez O'Briens and their complex family relationships unfold. While reflecting on the life of Emilio, her doggedly masculine brother, Margarita also ruminates on the nature of femininity, family, sex, love and earthly happiness. Her musings recall exhilarating adventures, eliciting tears and laughter, and tenderly reveal the bounteous heart of a warm, passionate family. At once lush, erotic and gorgeously written, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien is a masterwork by one of America's greatest writers. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (7)
Most of All, There is Family
A beautiful story about Irish immigrant photographer Nelson O'Brian who travels to Cuba during the Spanish American war, where he he falls in love with a Mariela Montez, who will bear him fourteen daughters, before finally they have a son, Emilio. This is a story about family. There is death and divorce and missed opportunities and love and loss and all the stuff families have to deal with and in the end there is redemption. But most of all there is family.
The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien
This book is one of my very favorites. I have read many books in my life and this is one that will take you away. Oscar Hijuelos writes with passion, he writes like he really understands women. I was very lucky to have found an autographed copy of this book. I consider it a treasured possession.
not that much plot, but decent prose
This book was okay, but it did not really meet my expectations. I was expecting a lush romance in the Latin
tradition of "Love in the time of Cholera" that portrayed an entire family. The marriage of an Irish immigrant and his Cuban wife in Pennsylvania gave me a picture of a unique family and a different perspective on how families can arrive into our country. But it was really hard for me to figure out what this book was specifically about. A couple of characters get greater emphasis but it is more a long series of episodes than a novel that progresses towards an ending or even a complex picture. I think the novel would have worked better as a collection of short stories than the rambling work we have here.
Not bad, but I don't think this is the author's best work and I may try something else by Hijuelos like Mambo Kings before I give up on him. I enjoyed his prose and I hope to read something by him that tells a better tale.
Another wonderful story by Hijuelos
I believe I have now read all of Hijuelos' books and this one didn't disappoint.Although the oldest sister is the focal point of the story, the reader really gets to know the entire family -- each girl with her strengths, weaknesses, dreams, disappointments, and triumphs, and then there is Emilio surrounded by all those women in his life.The writing is so readable; the words just seem to "paint" a picture of this remarkable yet so ordinary family.
The book covers time from the turn of the century into the 1970's from Cuba, Ireland, and the US.The plot is an ongoing saga with no great twists and turns although as in real life, surprises do occur. The culture of US and Cuba is a realistic backdrop. Overall, great story about a great family -- but one not much different than any families we might know (of course, 15 children is a bit rare today).
The writing in this book just pulls you in; it's not a "page turner" of excitment.Rather it is a slow addiction.
Too many sisters
I adored "The Mambo Kings," but with this book I think Oscar bit off more than he could chew. It's beautifully written, as is all of Hijuelos' books, but the meandering storyline spanning much of the 20thCentury is not very compelling. Despite the brilliant prose, it becomes achore to finish, though there certainly are passages as lovely as anythingHijuelos has written.
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