The Ensemble

The Ensemble

Book - 2018
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A novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of classical music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2018
ISBN: 9780735214767
Branch Call Number: FICTION GAB
Characteristics: 339 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Book Club Selection


From Library Staff

Aja Gabel's debut novel centres on the talented members of the Van Ness String Quartet: Jana, Henry, Daniel and Brit. Over two decades, they are bound together by their shared love of making music, despite professional temptations, dueling rivalries, injuries and bad judgment. Along the way, they... Read More »

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May 31, 2019

So-so. Relatively well-written but the prose is a bit laboured, like the product of someone who has taken creative writing classes (as she has). I read "Educated" after this. Now there is a natural, born writer!!

Apr 19, 2019

If you like Chamber music, each section of this book has a list of the works that this fictional group is preparing to perform during the period addressed in the story. They are all fabulous works, worth listening to.

DPLjennyp Jul 26, 2018

One of my favorite reads of this year. Gabel's insights on human-nature are far beyond her years.

Jul 07, 2018

This was an interesting look into the classical musical world and the dedication it takes to make a quartet work as a team. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I don’t have much patience for people who “just need to get on with their lives”, but as I pondered the four people in this novel I realize I’ve never had the passion about something, and their passion for music is foremost in their lives.

Jun 21, 2018

I loved following the ups and downs of this string quartet--each with their own temperaments and talent levels. Through it all, there is an undercurrent of whether the group will achieve success, and if they'll stay together. I've never been a musician, but this book gave such insight into the musicians' experience--the way it changes your body, the joy, the monotony, the pain, the moments of transcendence.

Jun 21, 2018

Brilliant debut!
Music can only be felt, no linguistic equivalent. But the author took the challenge well, turned into an advantage, reached for the sublime, in her lyrical style, plot structure, full-fleshed characters, romantic realism, spanning over two decades, a symphony of our time.

The book may have a higher barrier for ones who don’t play/love/know classical music. The members of the quartet maybe considered selected privileged few, reclusive in their own music haven.
I wish the book could be popular.

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