The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (11/9/2015)
Compact Disc (11/10/2015)
Paperback, Large Print (11/10/2015)
Paperback, Chinese (12/1/2015)
Paperback, Korean (4/29/2016)
“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.”
Praise For The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel…
“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
Harper Paperbacks, 9780062294432, 368pp.
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
About the Author
Mitch Albom is a bestselling author, screenwriter, playwright and nationally syndicated columnist. The author of five consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, his books have collectively sold more than thirty-three million copies in forty-two languages worldwide. Tuesdays With Morrie, which spent four straight years atop the New York Times list, is now the bestselling memoir of all time. Four of Albom’s books, including Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, and Have a Little Faith, have been made into highly acclaimed TV movies for ABC. Oprah Winfrey produced Tuesdays With Morrie, which claimed four Emmy awards including a best actor nod for Jack Lemmon in the lead role. Albom has founded six charities in and around Detroit, including the first-ever twenty-four-hour medical clinic for homeless children in America, and also operates an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Albom lives with his wife, Janine, in metropolitan Detroit.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Of what significance—literal or symbolic—is it that Frankie Presto was born amidst El Terror Rojo, the Spanish civil war? How do you think the cultural restrictions and political tensions affected Frankie’s childhood?
2. Throughout the novel, we get glimpses of Frankie’s story from people—both real and imagined—who knew Frankie through his music. What does this array of voices and characters add to the novel? How do they add to our understanding of Frankie?
3. Cast into the river as a baby, Frankie is saved by the hairless dog. What is the role of the dog in Frankie’s life?
4. Very early in his life, Frankie shows “flashes of genius” with music. How much of genius talent is given, how much is earned?
5. Consider Frankie’s music teacher, El Maestro. What does he value most about music? How did losing his sight affect him? How does getting Frankie into his life fulfill him?
6. Beyond teaching Frankie how to play the guitar, how does El Maestro impact Frankie’s life? What does he teach him?
7. Franco’s oppressive political regime in Spain created conditions under which “art suffers.” How can art be limited by politics?
8. Consider the long, romantic, and complex relationship between Frankie and Aurora York. Why do they always return to one another? What does this say about the role of forgiveness in the novel?
9. Frankie “grew up all over the place: Spain, England, Detroit, Nashville, New Orleans, Louisiana, California.” How does this influence him and his music? How might different places and landscapes affect an artist?
10. Despite all his talent and success, late in his life Frankie still doesn’t believe he deserves applause. Why might this be so?
11. How does Frankie and Aurora’s adopted daughter, Kai, change Frankie’s life? His music? What does Frankie mean when he tells Paul Stanley that “the older you get, the more you want your kids to know about you”?
12. The narrator, Music, claims that “all humans are musical.” Do you agree? In what ways might this be true? What do you think defines music and what role does it play in our everyday life?