Oscar Hijuelos was a warm, robust, Cuban-American writer who brought to life in his books the colorful neighborhood of northern Morningside Heights, where he grew up. In the process, he won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 1989 work, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. The novel was later made into a movie starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas. Hijuelos died suddenly while playing tennis this Saturday, at the age of 62. You can hear his 2002 conversation with Leonard Lopate about his novel, A Simple Habana Melody (from when the world was good), and their 2011 conversation about his memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes.