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Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto - Mitch Albom


Well, Mitch Albom has captured our hearts and imaginations once again. This time with his latest novel, "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto." Centred around the life of fictional pop star Frankie Presto and the transformative impact his music has on the lives of those around him, it is a wonderful novel for bibliophiles and music lovers alike.

The story is narrated by the talent, Music as it recaps the life one of its favourite children, Frankie Presto. We follow Frankie, orphaned after a tumultuous birth in war-stricken Francoist Spain, as he is mentored by an elderly blind guitar teacher until turmoil and danger force the teacher to send Frankie away to America at nine years old with nothing but a guitar. Frankie soon learns that when he plays the guitar in dire circumstances, the strings turn blue and his music has the ability to change and even save lives. 

Throughout the novel we see Frankie chatting with Hank Williams, partying with The Beatles and performing with Elvis Presley and Little Richard. He finds the love of his life and rises from poverty to become one of the world's most famous musicians; but disillusioned with fame and overwhelmed by the burden of his supernatural talent, he turns away from the world becoming a recluse. That is until one puzzling, albeit spellbinding final performance. Albom's fiction, as seen in "The Time Keeper" and "The First Phone Call from Heaven", has a fervent grasp on magical realism akin to that of Garcia Marquez; a skill rarely seen in contemporary writing. "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto" continues in that vein. 

To complement the evocative prose, Albom has also created an accompanying soundtrack of the songs that Frankie and his friends and family performed in the novel. The album is available through iTunes, AmazonMP3,  Barnes & Noble and Spotify

Frankie Presto tale's while fascinating to observe, also forces readers to look inward to their own lives, at how and what we use to navigate and articulate our place in the world. It is a story of talent, of passion, of love and of the bonds we form throughout our lives. As Albom reiterates, whether we are musically inclined or not, the relationships we have with those around us ensure that "Everyone joins a band in this life."


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