Item description for Mr. Ives' Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos...
Overview The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love depicts a man trying to put his life together after the tragic death of his son. Reprint. 125,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. Tour.
Hijuelos' novel tells the story of Mr. Ives, who was adopted from a foundling's home as a child. When we first meet him in the 1950s, Mr. Ives is very much a product of his time. He has a successful career in advertising, a wife and two children, and believes he is on his way to pursuing the typical American dream. But the dream is shattered when his son Robert, who is studying for the priesthood, is killed violently at Christmas. Overwhelmed by grief and threatened by a loss of faith in humankind, Mr. Ives begins to question the very foundations of his life. Part love story--of a man for his wife, for his children, for God--and part meditation on how a person can find spiritual peace in the midst of crisis, Mr. Ives' Christmas is a beautifully written, tender and passionate story of a man trying to put his life in perspective. In the expert hands of Oscar Hijuelos, the novel speaks eloquently to the most basic and fulfilling aspects of life for all of us.
Citations And Professional Reviews Mr. Ives' Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
New York Times - 12/08/1996 page 101
New York Times - 11/03/1996 page 28
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Studio: Harper Perennial
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.05" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Dec 23, 2003
Publisher Harper Perennial
ISBN 0060927542 ISBN13 9780060927547 UPC 099455013000
Availability 0 units.
More About Oscar Hijuelos
Oscar Hijuelos, the son of Cuban immigrants, was born in New York City in 1951. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His novels--Our House in the Last World, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, Mr. Ives' Christmas, Empress of the Splendid Season, and A Simple Habana Melody--have been translated into twenty-five languages.
Oscar Hijuelos currently resides in New York, in the state of New York. Oscar Hijuelos was born in 1951.
Reviews - What do customers think about Mr. Ives' Christmas?
A parable for Young Adults but slim pickings for adults Apr 7, 2008
I like stories of compassion, loss, and acceptance as much as anyone, but Mr. Ives' Christmas is definitely not a book that goes deeply into these issues. There are some interesting conceits in the main character--just who is Mr. Ives: an orphan whose heritage seems to consist of threads from many cultures and who lives an unadorned life as a commercial artist during the 50's and 60's in NYC, having never quite accepted the challenge of attempting a life as a 'real artist.' These character attributes seem more interesting than the story itself, which is a warm and tender parable--but one that should be an introduction to questions of faith and belief--not the paragon of to address these profound issues. Had I read this book as a teenager, I'm sure I would have been haunted for weeks by its message, but having lived, lost some, won some, I think to honor the experience of the average adult who is familiar with the vicissitudes of life, a deeper meditation on the subject can be had more readily elsewhere. Nevertheless, it does provide a counter-cultural message in an age where revenge and force seem to be the weapons of choice in finding personal satisfaction. If it encourages further thought and dialog among its readers, it will have fulfilled a great function.
moving and serious Jan 20, 2008
This is a sensitive and beautiful small novel about the life of a man trying to be a good human being.
Destined to be a Spiritual Classic Jan 26, 2006
Ever since I first saw this novel listed on the list of the top hundred Christian-themed literary works of the twentieth century that had been put out by the Image Journal, I have wanted to read it. Over the last Christmas break, I finally found time, and this book in no way disappointed.
It's basically about a good man whose life is marked by both tragedy and grace. This is the story of Mr. Ives's long journey toward coming to terms with the evil he has been confronted with when his son is murdered early in the novel.
There's not really any part of the work that is lacking. The prose is astounding. Often, Hijuelos writes in short vignettes that are tied to the overall movement of the novel, and it's particularly in these, to my mind, that he does his best writing. It's often like reading prose poetry, and there's often a sort of transcendent feel produced. It is important that the novel is primarily centered around events that take place at Christmas because the story is so much about those moments where the spiritual suddenly overlaps with the temporal.
I can't really say enough about the novel. It's really a unique reading experience, one that I can't recommend highly enough.
What's the Point? Jan 1, 2005
I'm a little shocked by all the 5-star reviews. Some episodes in the book were quite touching, especially Robert's dream of Jesus and the elevator scene, when Edward deals with his inborn feelings of rejection.
However, I have to disagree with the other reviewers on two points. I did not like the prose style much at all. Hijuelos, in my point of view, falls into the "telling not showing" pitfall over and over. It reads like an AP Story...for 300 pages.
Second, I found the spirituality insipid and inconclusive. What was the point? It didn't seem to go beyond the quote on the cover jacket--being religious is hard. Actually, since 97% of the world adheres to some kind of religion, I would think it's the other way around.
I'm sounding harsh here. I suppose it's because I'm disappointed after reading a string of magnificent Catholic novels, such as Vipers' Tangle, The End of the Affair, Charming Billy, and even Lying Awake.
On another note, it's interesting that the chief "miracle" in _Mr. Ives'_ involves the healing of a skin condition, as in _The End of the Affair_.
A remarkable and unforgettable book Dec 28, 2004
In this beautifully written novel Hijuelos gives us characters that live, love, suffer tragedy and die while revealing their innermost thoughts, hopes , fears, and doubts to the reader in a most touching and evocative way. The main character. Mr. Ives , is a man who has from earliest childhood been given reason after reason to lose faith and yet he is a man who perserveres and finds beauty in life while living a life of faithfulness to his family, friends, coworkers and even many strangers and random characters that he encounters. He is dealt a serious blow with the loss of a child and yet as he struggles to comprehend, and has his moments of severe doubt and depression he remains essentially good and faithful. This man is no mystery though, Hijuelos has created a character of flesh and blood and spirit who reacts to life in ways that ring true and the reader will relate to real people he/she has known. Overall this is a beautiful life affirming story that follows Ives and his small circle through the years and in short episodes at different intervals in time conveys their humanity and struggles so vividly that we come to know them like family by the time we finish. The story is set in Manhattan and the various scenes are also realistically depicted by a writer who obviously knows and loves the city. A remarkable and unforgettable book.