Books: Facts and Fiction
● By Aimee Cormier
By Ray Saadi—Book Editor
THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO By Mitch Albom, Harper $25.99
In a mix of fascinating fiction and reality, Albom gives us the epic story of war orphan Frankie Presto. He was born in the loft of a burning Spanish church, rescued from drowning by a hairless dog and its’ master and brought up by blind music teacher, “El Maestro.” When Frankie was only nine, his teacher has him smuggled in the bottom of a boat to America with only an old guitar and six magical strings, each of which can astoundingly alter lives. Once here, his playing and singing enthralls music greats from his idol Django Reinhardt to Duke Ellington, Elvis, Little Richard, Hank Williams and many others, all who consider him the greatest guitarist in the world. His brilliance is extolled by popular artists like Tony Bennett, Burt Bacharach and Wynton Marsalis. He meets and marries Aurora, his only love, and they have a beautiful daughter. But then, he tragically loses his way and disappears for years until he finally returns for one last mystical and incredible performance. Narrated by the personification of music itself, its’ heart rending and redemptive ending will leave you clamoring to “play it again.”
THE GOOD PIRATES OF THE FORGOTTEN BAYOUS By Ken Wells, Yale Books $15
Yale reissued this original book with a new preface that gives it fresh, gripping first-person stories of survivors in St. Bernard Parish, hit head on by the eye of Hurricane Katrina. Wells, a former Houma native and reporter, now with BLOOMBERG, has updated his story of the resilience of the people he met and befriended. So much of what has been written has focused on New Orleans, leaving the story of the Cajuns in “Da Parish” to be told by Wells who relives the adventures of trawler captain, Ricky Robins, his family and multitude of friends and fellow survivors. I found it still the most poignant and touching of the many Katrina books.