A Mandolin of Gold - A Novel by Michael F. Tedesco

By Mandolin Cafe
November 25, 2009 - 10:45 pm

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A Mandolin of Gold - A Novel by Michael F. Tedesco

A Mandolin of Gold - A Novel by Michael F. Tedesco

Brooklyn, N.Y.A Mandolin of Gold is a new novel by Michael Frank Tedesco, a fourth generation resident of Brooklyn from an Italian/Sicilian family.

In the novel, Tedesco combined considerable research on stringed instrument virtuosity, the nearly forgotten pre rock-and-roll era of mandolinists and their orchestras, and the often difficult, early twentieth-century history of Italians in America.

About the book, from the author:

Nineteen-ninety, Brooklyn, New York. Ninety-five year old Ernesto DiLentini, forgotten virtuoso from the era when mandolin reigned as the most rebellious instrument of the day, remembers everything... running away at 17 to join a 34-member Neapolitan plectrum orchestra, falling in love with a girl destined for the convent, socializing with rowdy Futurists, and making records for the Victrola in 1913. Perhaps a rock star before Rock, Ernesto recklessly achieves success beyond his wildest dreams... until the discovery of his affair with a married woman and the urgent need to escape her revolver-carrying husband put him on a merchant steamer sailing for La'Merica.

Ernesto arrives in New York disguised in women's clothes, without baggage or passport, yet still in possession of his beloved mandolin. What should be a long prosperous career reaching far beyond the heyday of Coney Island, World War One, Prohibition, and Vaudeville, becomes the turbulent and bittersweet portrait of a brilliant career cut short, an enduring love for three heartbreaking sisters, and a dangerous association with an ominous man known only as il Lupo.

Additional information:

November 30, 2009, there will be a reading from the book at Bar Great Harry, 280 Smith Street in Brooklyn (Take the F to Bergen Street and walk just a few blocks).

Book web site
Purchase book: From author
Purchase book: From amazon.com


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Reader Comments

December 30, 2009 08:21 PM
Got the book for Christmas, and read it quickly. It's about 500 pages, but type is big. I liked it, however it is quite steamy, or smutty for some people's tastes. However, it tells the story of a Mandolin player born in 1895 recalling his life. It reminded me of reading the Great Gatsby back in High School, sort of the same time frame in places. In any event, the world he describes has long gone.The afterword was interesting, Butch Baldassari is mentioned.
MF Tedesco
January 02, 2010 10:50 AM
Writing 492 pages that a reader gets through quickly while reminding him of Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is extremely gratifying for me as a writer, but I wish Thomas hadn't said "smutty." In a few places, there are indeed descriptions of sexual relations between adults. I've written these passages frankly, using the same technique I would use to describe a mandolin, a landscape, or a sunset.

In my opinion, there is a great difference between eros and smut: the former is artistic, the latter is not. But more to the point, smut dwells solely on sex, while my novel does not; it's about a 95 year-old mandolin virtuoso from a bygone era, his career, and his struggles in life, of which love forms a significant part.

I've spent years researching early 20th century mandolin virtuosity and it's accompanying history in order to make this work realistic, and adult love and love making form an honest part of it. I truly hope that I found a just balance. For me, writing anything for others to read represents a serious commitment, and I sincerely thank Thomas for taking the time to read and write about "A Mandolin Of Gold."

Best wishes,

M.F. Tedesco
January 02, 2010 05:43 PM
Perhaps using the word smutty was harsh. That wasn't my intention. However, let me explain where I'm coming from. I purchased Grisham's Playing for Pizza awhile back, and I thought it treated the subject of sex in a footballer's life okay. I read a harsh review though on Amazon from a reader who thought it was smutty. I thought that Grisham had told another great story, that he is so good at doing. There's no accounting for people's tastes when it comes to books. I agree that you told a very human story and it was a fun read. In Grisham's case, he had this fellow having sex as an unmarried man, and this reader thought that was smutty, and he made snide remarks about how Grisham had gone to Italy, and then wrote a book about it, etc.
January 02, 2010 05:48 PM
I used to have a Guitar book by a guy named Tommy Tedesco. He was a studio guitarist in Hollywood, CA for many years. I was wondering if the writer was related to him?
MF Tedesco
January 03, 2010 09:43 AM
Thanks for your clarification, Thomas, and I agree with you: Many people will disagree on what is acceptable material in any given circumstance. What entertains one may offend another. As far as I can tell, this is an ancient argument that seems to have no contemporary resolution in sight. I aim for a realistic balance but admit that I've set my own scales. I hope that the majority of interested readers will be entertained.

I've been asked about my relation to Tommy Tedesco many times, and as far as I know, we are not related, and that is unfortunate; I sure could've used some good guitar lessons way back when.


M.F. Tedesco
Scott Tichenor
January 03, 2010 09:56 AM
I think it's a great book and I'm really enjoying it. Here's the link in case you missed the original announcement: http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_001155.shtml
MF Tedesco
January 03, 2010 01:23 PM
Thanks Scott,

Independent writers, like independent musicians, need all the support they can get, especially when we don't fit into neat, popular classifications. Writing "A Mandolin Of Gold" was primarily a labor of love for me, which began the moment I heard Giovanni Vicari's version of Speranze Perdute (Lost Hopes) on Grandpa's 78 rpm shellac disc. Maybe later, with some luck, I'll get a couple of bucks and a drink on the house.


January 03, 2010 01:40 PM
sounds great - just ordered a copy from amazon uk - moral valetudinarianism clinched the deal.
MF Tedesco
January 03, 2010 02:49 PM
I suspected that the question of moral valetudinarianism would come in handy one day.
January 04, 2010 08:37 PM
Valetudinarian-A sickly or weak person who is constantly concerned with his or her health....I had to look it up in my American Heritage Dictionary that I have close to the computer to help me spell words right. I never had heard of it before reading this post....The fellow in A Mandolin of Gold, was born in 1895 in Sicily. My Irish Grandfather was born in 1894. He told me once, that you learn something new every day, and if you don't, you're dead...I learned a new word today.