Just put my copy of "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" by Oscar Hijuelos to bed last night.
The author brought a poetic masterpiece to life in Havana during the days of Fidel Castro. But it mainly revolves around the powerful beauty of Maria and the love spell she cast over any man that crossed her. Then she meets Nestor while working the Havana nights as a show girl. Nestor, like every other man, falls madly in love with Maria. He is so captivated by her that he asks her to marry him. But out of fear of living the life of a poor man's wife, she declined his proposal. Then came the birth of Nestor's hit U.S. single entitled, "Beautiful Maria of My Soul." Now, 50 years later, Maria still remembers Nestor fondly, cherishing their fleeting moments together.
This story brought a few questions to mind:
1. What inspired it?
2. Was Maria based on an actual character?
3. Who was the intended audience for this story and what does the author hope they will gain from reading this novel?
4. Is this story a life lesson for regrets and taking chances? What do you, as the reader, believe?
Overall, I thought that Oscar's words were intimate and powerful, and I look forward to what he writes next.