‘Frankie Presto: One of the world’s brightest stars…..’
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is a book from Mitch Albom that I have been so looking forward to reading. My copy was published by Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group) earlier in 2017. It took me awhile, but I finally got there and it was so worth the wait!
I love the writings of Mitch Albom and always come away from his books feeling like I have experienced something very special indeed.
Frankie Presto was no different.
From the very first page I knew…..I knew that this would be THE book that would sweep me off my feet and carry me away into that special world, that place that only Mitch Albom’s writings can take me.
‘I have come to claim my prize.
‘He is there, inside the coffin. In truth he is mine already. But a good musician holds respectfully until the final notes are played. This man’s melody is finished, but his mourners have come a great distance to add a few stanzas…Do I frighten you? I shouldn’t. I am not death…….I am Music. And I am here for the soul of Frankie Presto.’
These are the words of Music following the life and death of Frankie Presto.
Born during the beginning of the Spanish civil war, Frankie Presto was destined for greater things. With a very tough start to life, Frankie eventually found himself in the care of a great, yet very tortured musician, El Maestro. This man was a master of his craft, a guitar virtuoso and through some very troubled years. he passed on his knowledge to young Francesco and sent him out to the world, as Frankie Presto.
Frankie Presto begins his journey and leaves Spain tucked away in a boat with his guitar and, unbeknownst to him, some very special guitar strings. This voyage into the unknown turns into an adventure of a lifetime, as Frankie crosses paths with some of the world’s greatest musicians.
I absolutely love Spanish guitar. I love Jazz. I love the music that climbs into your very soul, where you get to experience a little of what these gifted musicians are feeling. When I turned the page and saw mention of a certain gypsy guitar player, I knew I was in deep with this book.
‘He rolled his chin, exhaled deeply, then played the same song – but so fast Frankie stopped breathing. The man’s two fingers shot across the frets, holding a note then springing to many others, spilling octave runs as smoothly as oil poured down a funnel. Those two fingers produced more music than any five fingers could, and he finished with a sweeping of chords, using the pump technique he’d been trying to explain, a syncopated strum that made the guitar sound like a train engine….
“‘Billets Doux’, no?” the Frenchman said, handing back the guitar. “It means love letters.”
“How do you know that?”
“I write it…..I am Django”
Music narrates the story of Frankie Presto along with the memories of iconic musicians such as Tony Bennett and Burt Bacharach. We join Frankie on tour with the exceptional Duke Ellington and THE Elvis Presley. We travel to Woodstock and to the back room of a music shop where Jon Bon Jovi is spotted.
Frankie Presto had talent, a talent never before nor ever again seen. His guitar playing was a phenomenon which constantly drew people to him like bees to a honey-trap. His musical ability had no limitations. He carried with him a magic when he played, a magic that impacted the future of many. For those who were lucky to see/hear him play live, they experienced an enlightenment and felt almost blessed to have been witness to such a being. In death as in life Frankie Presto was an enigma.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is probably one of the most difficult reviews I have attempted to write. I finished the book over a week ago but I knew I needed to sit with it for awhile before I wrote anything down, to ensure I wouldn’t ramble too much!
Frankie Presto’s story from beginning to end encapsulates all that I love in a book. It contains the most stunning writing, with a storyline that transported me to somewhere very unique indeed. Mitch Albom is a world renowned best selling author for a reason. His books transcend all existing genre, making this a novel for all, no matter age nor gender.
Mitch Albom is a musician, alongside all his other talents, which gave him access to many famous voices who, in his own words ‘agreed to let me stitch Frankie Presto into their real lives. They trusted me to write in their voices and give an alternate universe to their personal histories’ These voices give great authenticity to Frankie Presto’s story, giving the book an almost autobiographical feel.
Enchanting. Inspirational. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Wonderful. Hypnotic. Captivating….and more.
You deserve to make room in your life for Frankie Presto….
In the words of Music:
‘Everyone joins a band in this life. And what you play always affects someone.
Sometimes, it affects the world.’
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.