Mr. Ives' Christmas

A Novel

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By Oscar Hijuelos

Foreword by Mary Gordon

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Hailed “the deepest and the best” of Pulitzer-Prize winning author Oscar Hijuelos’s novels, this acclaimed national bestseller examines faith lost and regained after a businessman’s son violently dies at Christmas (New York TimesBook Review).

In 1960s New York, Edward Ives is a picture of the American dream. Adopted as a child by a widowed print shop manager, who helped him cultivate a love of drawing, he now has a successful career as an illustrator in advertising, a beautiful home with his wife and muse, Annie, and two loving children. But this idyllic life is brutally wrenched away when Ives’s 17-year-old son, Robert—who has just decided to commit his life to the priesthood—is murdered by another teenage boy just before Christmas, a crime of opportunity that proves to be as random as it is senseless.

Consumed by grief, Ives withdraws from the world. Grappling with a loss of faith—a force that has guided him steadfastly since childhood—he starts to question every aspect of human existence, contemplating what it really means to live an emotionally and spiritually fulfilling life. This mourning consumes him—until he takes on the monumental task of working through his suffering, and ultimately faces his son's killer.

Mr. Ives' Christmas is a tender, passionate story of a man working to rediscover what it means to love, forgive, and live after unspeakable tragedy. It is another tremendous achievement from one of America’s most talented writers.

Includes a Reading Group Guide.

Genre:

  • "Dickens himself, mentioned frequently in the narrative, haunts it like the Ghost of Christmas Past, but Mr. Hijuelos transcends his model even as he embraces him . . . The shortest of Oscar Hijuelos's recent novels, ''Mr. Ives' Christmas'' is in my judgment both the deepest and the best."
    New York Times
  • "A new classic for a new age, a bracing reminder of the difference between love and romance, from a writer whose gifts I admire and, maybe, envy."
    NPR
  • "It is significant that Mr. Ives's most prized possession is a signed edition of Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Hijuelos, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of Cuban exile, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, breathes new life into the Victorian Christmas genre. Highly recommended."
    Library Journal
  • "A Dickensian tale of redemption through dignified suffering."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "An honest, moving account of a man, his family, and the changing city they live in . . . Hijuelos shows himself this time to be that vanishing, valuable thing: a writer, even if not uniformly polished, whose passions can make art out of what for others would remain only issues."
    Kirkus

On Sale
Oct 8, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
ISBN-13
9781538722275

Oscar Hijuelos

About the Author

Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013), a native New Yorker and the son of Cuban immigrants, was a Pulitzer Prize winning author of nine novels and a memoir and a recipient of the Rome Prize awarded by The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He became the first Latino winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1990 for his international bestseller The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and his novels have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Arturo O’Farrill, eight-time Grammy-winning pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. His professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte. In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (now called Belongó) as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music. Arturo has been a Steinway Artist for many years and is a Blue Note Records Recording Artist.

Learn more about this author