Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

The Ensemble
by Aja Gabel
narrated by Rebecca Lowman

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2018
Publisher: Riverhead
Genre: Literary, Contemporary, Music
Hardback: 352
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
It's a love story, the famous violinist had said, and even thought Jana knew it was not, those were the worlds that knocked around her brain when she began to play on stage.

The addictive debut novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.

Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.

In The Ensemble, each character picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together—by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry together, and by choosing each other over and over again.

Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a behind-the-scenes look into the highly competitive, mysterious world of high-level musicians. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.

My two-bits:

This story delves into the lifespan of a quartet with its ups and downs. It gets into the rise and then what happens next stories.

The relationships within and outside of the quartet dynamics are explored. And amongst it all, music weaves the individuals together.


* Listened to audiobook version. I liked the brief musical interludes between chapters.
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