Reissues planned for 'Mambo Kings' and other Hijuelos novels

FILE - Author Oscar Hijuelos appears at a VIP reception at the Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington on Sept. 7, 2000. New paperback editions of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and other fiction by the late Oscar Hijuelos will be published over a 2-year period starting in 2023. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Boitano, File) (Stephen J. Boitano, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – From the moment the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos died in 2013, at age 62, his wife Lori Carlson-Hijuelos has been on a quest to make sure he wasn't forgotten.

“Every day this has been my mission,” she said Thursday upon the announcement by Grand Central Publishing that new paperback editions of “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love” and other titles by Hijuelos, the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer for fiction, will be published over a two-year period starting in 2023.

“Mambo Kings," his debut book and winner of the Pulitzer in 1990, will be reissued in October 2023. Other Hijuelos paperbacks scheduled include “Beautiful Maria of My Soul,” “Our House in the Last World” and “Empress of the Splendid Season.”

“It is an extraordinary privilege to have a role in sharing the literary legacy of the great Oscar Hijuelos with new generations of readers and helping to keep the memory of his genius alive," Grand Central Vice President and Executive Editor Gretchen Young said in a statement.

This fall, “Mambo Kings” will also be among the Hijuelos books available in a single hardcover volume from the Library of America, an unofficial canon maker that has re-issued works by authors ranging from Mark Twain to Susan Sontag.

Hijuelos had numerous publishers, including Grand Central, in his lifetime and several of his books fell out of print. Carlson-Hijuelos says she spent years re-acquiring the rights to his work in hopes they could be reissued in an organized way.

“It may seem to the world like nothing was happening with Oscar over the years, but I was waking up every single day to get his rights so I could achieve this fantastic event,” she said.