The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
Harper Collins, 2015
Mitch Albom creates his most unforgettable fictional character—Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth—in this magical novel about the bands we join in life and the power of talent to change our lives.
In his most stunning novel yet, the voice of Music narrates the tale of its most beloved disciple, young Frankie Presto, a war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town. At nine years old, Frankie is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings.
But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 20th century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll, with his stunning talent affecting numerous stars along the way, including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carole King, Wynton Marsalis and even KISS.
Frankie becomes a pop star himself. He makes records. He is adored. But his gift is also his burden, as he realizes, through his music, he can actually affect people’s futures—with one string turning blue whenever a life is altered.
At the height of his popularity, Frankie Presto vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, does he reappear—just before his spectacular death—to change one last life.
With its Forest Gump-like romp through the music world, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a classic in the making. A lifelong musician himself, Mitch Albom delivers a remarkable novel, infused with the message that “everyone joins a band in this life” and those connections change us all.
I’ve been a longtime fan of Mitch Albom – though I do consider myself to be pretty objective with each book of his. I loved his first three – Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and For One More Day. His next two – The Time Keeper and Have A Little Faith – weren’t as great for me but I still enjoyed them. And then prior to this, he wrote The First Phone Call From Heaven and I thought that it was just okay, a little boring and not as inspiring as his previous work. Which is why I reached a point of reluctance when it came to picking up The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.
And what I found was this – that Mitch Albom has finally found his own magic again when it comes to telling a narrative. The character of Frankie Presto was completely charming and his life was truly magical and almost unbelievable. I loved reading it and learning a little bit of music history at the same time. Well, I don’t want to scare off any potential readers — there’s no actual history – but the idea is that Frankie does live through real life world events and even meets some amazing musicians along the way – musicians who actually gave their consent to Mitch Albom to be part of the narrative.
Truly an enjoyable read and another book to make it to my wishlist.