The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien

A Novel

Coming Soon


By Oscar Hijuelos

Foreword by Gary Soto

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$25.99 CAD

With “soaring, matchless prose,” a Pulitzer Prize winner pens a New York Times bestselling saga of the Montez O’Briens, a rambunctious family of Irish Cuban immigrants comprised of fourteen daughters—and one doggedly masculine son (Publishers Weekly). 

Irish American Nelson O’Brien fell passionately in love with the poetess Mariela Montez while photographing the ravages of battle in Mariela's native Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After marrying, they moved to the United States to start a new life, settling in a small Pennsylvania town where Nelson took over the Jewel Box Movie Theater. Together, they had a remarkable fifteen children: fourteen daughters and one lone son.

In Oscar Hijuelos’s The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien, the lives, loves, and tragedies of this sprawling Irish Cuban family unfold. Over the course of a century, each member moves in and out of each other’s lives, traversing Cuba, New York, California, Alaska, and Ireland, while Margarita—the Montez O’Brien’s eldest daughter—ruminates on the nature of femininity, sex, love, and earthly happiness. And as Margarita learns and grows in an overwhelmingly female environment, she can’t help but contrast her experiences with those of Emilio, her intensely masculine brother, whose B-movie career in the 1950s has left him adrift and frustrated, with little hope of success.

Lush and gorgeously written, The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien is a masterwork by one of America's greatest writers. Reckoning with cultural assimilation and complex family dynamics, the novel elicits tears and laughter while tenderly revealing the bounteous heart and exhilarating adventures of a warm, passionate family.

Includes a Reading Group Guide.


  • "One finishes The Fourteen Sisters reluctantly, the way one finishes a long letter from a beloved family member..." 
    New York Times
  • "Exuberant, richly detailed."
    The New Yorker
  • "Nobody writes about sensuality, nostalgia and matters of the heart more exuberantly than Oscar Hijuelos."
    Chicago Tribune
  • "A marvelous novel...[Hijuelos's] range is impressive, his storytelling fluid...his scope exuberant and full of life."
    San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Matchless, soaring prose."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "A beautiful pastorale, loosely based on the idea of the limited text implied by photographs, in which the lives of 17 characters are developed . . . Hijuelos composes women's stories with a loving hand."
    Library Journal

On Sale
Jul 16, 2024
Page Count
496 pages

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