The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel (Paperback)
Jim's April 2017 pick, 1 of 2
I unabashedly like Mitch Albom's books. They can be corny at times (some might even say preachy), but even so, he writes about the positive effects of human interaction. Our lives are complicated in so many ways, yet, under the surface, when we take the time to look, there is a gentle beauty and simplicity holding us together. Often we are too caught up in the day-to-day demands for our attention that we miss what really matters.
This is true for Frankie Presto, an orphan, who is haunted by identity issues and never seems to be whole, always looking for that missing piece from his life. Since childhood, Frankie demonstrates an affinity for playing the guitar. As a gift, he is given a set of strings which, at key moments in his life, turn a bright blue, one at a time, hence the title. Yet, Frankie finds that talent cannot replace contentment, no matter how much of the former one has.
Frankie's talent takes him far, and throughout his life, he rubs elbows with real life famous musicians. A fun part of the book is when these celebrities, Tony Bennett, Lyle Lovett, Wynton Marsalis, and Burt Bacharach, to name a few, relate their stories of friendship with Frankie. There is even a stop at Woodstock. Far out!
If you are looking for an uplifting story about the mysteries of life and music, pick up a copy of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.— From Jim's staff picks, 2016-2018
“Talent is a piece of God’s shadow, and under that shadow, human stories intersect.”
A Spanish war orphan born in a burning church and raised by a blind guitar teacher, Frankie Presto was gifted with extraordinary musical abilities that shape not only his life but the lives of those around him. At nine years old, Frankie meets the love of his life, Aurora; that same day, civil war tears apart his home and he is sent to America, smuggled in the bottom of a boat with only guitar and six strings imbued with the power to change lives.
Relying on music to survive, Frankie’s talent weaves him through the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from Detroit’s jazz scene and the Grand Ole Opry, to Elvis mania and Woodstock—all the while searching for Aurora.
As his fame grows, Frankie finds love, friendship, and celebrity. Even so, his gift becomes his burden, driving a wedge between him and his beloved Aurora—now his wife. Overwhelmed by life, loss, and the power of his strings, Frankie disappears for years, only to reemerge in a spectacular and mysterious farewell.
With its Forrest Gump–like journey through the music world, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a classic in the making. “Everyone joins a band in this life,” Albom observes, “only some of them play music.”
About the Author
Mitch Albom is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, which have collectively sold more than forty million copies in forty-seven languages worldwide. He has written seven number-one New York Times bestsellers – including Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time, which topped the list for four straight years – award-winning TV films, stage plays, screenplays, a nationally syndicated newspaper column, and a musical. Through his work at the Detroit Free Press, he was inducted into both the National Sports Media Association and Michigan Sports halls of fame and is the recipient of the 2010 Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement. After bestselling memoir Finding Chika and “Human Touch,” the weekly serial written and published online in real-time to raise funds for pandemic relief, his latest work is a return to fiction with The Stranger in the Lifeboat (Harper, November 2021). He founded and oversees SAY Detroit, a consortium of nine different charitable operations in his hometown, including a nonprofit dessert shop and food product line to fund programs for Detroit’s most underserved citizens. He also operates an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which he visits monthly. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan. Learn more at www.mitchalbom.com, www.saydetroit.org, and www.havefaithaiti.org.
“Albom’s fable about the power of song carries you along like a beautiful melody.”
“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.”
“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