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The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel Paperback – October 25, 2016
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“Albom’s fable about the power of song carries you along like a beautiful melody.” (People)
“Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto hits the right notes. Albom’s love for music is richly apparent... and his maxims about life will no doubt bring readers on a pleasantly sentimental journey about the bandmates in their lives.” (USA Today)
“Albom can say in one sentence what others can spend a lifetime trying to convey.” (The Book Wheel)
“Within a few pages, you’ll be as delighted with this sparkling book as I was. Start it, stick with it, and you’ll find ’The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto to be a book of note.” (Yankton Daily Press)
“As always, Albom’s novel has a larger message...and The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto resonates with a kind of cosmic connection.” (Miami New Times)
“What an entertainer! Mitch Albom, author, playwright, screenwriter, nationally syndicated columnist - and philanthropist, as his audience learned, was a charmer…There seemed to be no end to this man’s talents.” (NorthJersey.com)
“A beautiful story that forces us to think about the concept of a life well lived…Albom brings his literary magic once again.” (Huffington Post)
From the Back Cover
Mitch Albom’s most critically acclaimed novel yet is a stunningly original tale of love: love between a man and a woman, between an artist and his mentor, and between a musician and his God-given talent.
Narrated by the voice of Music itself, the story follows Frankie Presto, a war orphan born in a burning church, through his extraordinary journey around the world. Raised by a blind guitar teacher in Spain and gifted with a talent to change people’s lives—using six mysterious blue strings—Frankie navigates the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from the 1950s jazz scene to the Grand Ole Opry to Elvis mania and Woodstock, all the while searching for his childhood love.
As he becomes a famous star, he loses his way, until tragedy steals his ability to play the guitar that had so defined him. Overwhelmed by his loss, Frankie disappears for decades, reemerging late in life for one spectacular yet mystifying farewell.
Part love story, part magical mystery, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is Mitch Albom at his finest, a Forrest Gump-like epic about one man’s journey to discover what truly matters and the power of talent to change our lives.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this novel narrated by music, who introduces us to Frankie at the time of his death, Frankie Presto is a Spanish war orphan who is abandoned in a river. He goes on to become a musician comparable in fame to Elvis, the best guitarist who ever lived. Traveling to America in the bottom of a boat at the age of nine, his only possession is a guitar with six magic strings, and his only friend is a hairless dog who refuses to leave his side.
When I first bought the ebook, I flipped through the first few pages and had to force myself to stop reading (since it wasn't that book's turn yet, and I try to stick to my list). The use of personified Music as narrator is really interesting stylistically, and I was fascinated with the musical terms that are used to describe the tempo of a day, the crescendo of an emotion and the pause of a rest. It gives the book a magical tone that meshes well with the magical realism of the unlikely coincidences that frame Frankie's life.
Beginning at Frankie's funeral, I loved the intervals in which the people who knew him most intimately share the ways in which he affected their lives. Albom actually connected with the famous people whose lives he has inserted this fictional character into, and a lot of them contributed their own words to those sections to make them more authentic. It gives an added layer of richness to the story, and also gives a sense of the community of musicians that came together and played together and created the music that we know today.
Towards the end, however, I felt that the story began to drag a little. As Frankie's career rises and then begins to fall, the denouement became depressing. However, right at the very end, Albom brings in an interesting device that ties everything together. It was neatly done, although I think that it could have been done a bit sooner. I don't want to give much away, but I was surprised by the ending, and my own predictions proved to be wrong - it was very clever.
This is a brilliant audiobook, and the many voices who tell the story of Frankie Presto give it a richness and a variety that makes it a thrilling story to listen to. A book about music, narrated by music, is absolutely a book that should be heard rather than read, and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Book Thief, All The Light We Cannot See, and the music of the 1950s-1980s.
But the part that touched me the most involved the references to classical and flamenco guitar subjects. These were not essential to the following the story line, but for me they added even greater meaning. As a classical (and formerly flamenco) guitarist, I was in awe of Mitch's knowledge of related musical details. Frankly, every time I play Lagrima for the rest of my life, I will think back on this story. And play it a bit better as a result.
To enjoy this, you have to be willing to suspend reality. Told through the eyes and mouth of "Music", it is a very different sort of tale than most novels present. I can be a bit "dark" at times, but that is just part of the ultimate inspiration it delivers. I finished reading two weeks ago, and still can't get this tale out of my head. I need at least 3 things to give a five-star review - good writing, keeps my interest throughout, and inspirational in some way. This book met and exceeded those things.
The story actually begins at Frankie's funeral in the town of his birth. He was considered one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. He died while performing at a concert. His passing, even though public, was greatly mysterious. His origins and life story still remain hidden to most people. Who really is Frankie Presto? Why has his talent affected so many people and what is it about those guitar strings?
The story is written in a first person narrative with "Music" being the speaker. There are "chapters" from famous musicians who were affected by Frankie. "Music” shares a part of himself with people when they are born and reclaims that part when they die and then shares it again with someone else. Frankie however, got a larger portion of "Music". He then became a gifted musician and singer.
With THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO, Mitch Albom, once again, comes up with a brilliant story that is sure to touch the readers heart. He is known for his thought provoking, heart stirring tales that will leave you "touched" long after you finish the book. The joy I had was looking up the "songs" that he "hi lighted" and listened to them again with a new "ear" of delight. I definitely recommend this novel and I wish I could give it more than the standard 5 stars.