THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO by Mitch Albom
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada Ltd (November 10, 2015)
Synopsis: In Mitch Albom’s epic new novel, the voice of Music narrates the tale of its most beloved disciple, Frankie Presto, a Spanish war orphan raised by a blind music teacher. At nine years old, Frankie is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six magical strings.
But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and it weaves him through the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll. Along the way, Frankie influences many artists: he translates for Django Reinhardt, advises Little Richard, backs up Elvis Presley, and counsels Hank Williams.
Frankie elevates to a rock star himself, yet his gift becomes his burden, as he realizes that he can actually affect people’s futures: his guitar strings turn blue whenever a life is altered. Overwhelmed by life, loss, and this power, he disappears for years, only to reemerge in a spectacular and mysterious farewell.
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The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto shows the magic words of Mitch Albom. On the surface this story is about music, but you don’t have to dig very deep to find the real themes: life, family, love.
The novel, follows the life of Frankie Presto from fascist Spain to modern day America. Presto is a talented musician who has lived a very unique life filled with ups (Crescendo) and downs (decrescendo) similar to a sheet of music. Actually, the number of comparisons of life to music litter the pages of this novel, making it fun and enjoyable for any reader that is also a music lover.
The story reads like a biography, but the narration by “music” adds a strong literary prose to the novel. While it took a while to get used to the voice of “music”, the reader soon starts to realize how essential it is to the story and how the narration choice allows the story to come full circle as “music” has the incite of Presto’s life from birth to death.
A note of caution: there are many characters introduced at the beginning of the novel whose purpose and need is not mentioned until the second half of the book. While this created a great sense of the story going full circle, it did leave me a little confused at the start of the story and questioning if Albom had lost his magic. But it just turned out he was slowly sprinkling his magic among the first 100 pages or so, preparing the reader for his full magic show of words in the remaining 400 pages.
Overall: this is an amazing story, with amazing writing, about the fictional Frankie Presto and the lives affected by his six magic strings. It will leave the reader feeling satisfied at the end of the novel and completely in love Frankie Presto.