“Unsparing in her depiction of the disease’s harrowing effects, neuroscientist Genova also celebrates humanity.” —People
“Sometimes it’s easier to tell truth in fiction…And she tells it with heart and hope.” —NPR
“Her juxtaposition of scientific detail with compassionate, heartfelt storytelling is unparalleled.” —Bookreporter
“Every Note Played will grip and gut you.” —The Boston Globe
From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.
An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.
Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.
He knows his left arm will go next.
Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.
When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.
Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.
Genova (Still Alice) captivates with the painful but unflinching story of the demise of celebrated concert pianist Richard Evans. The novel follows debonair Richard and his ex-wife Karina, once also a pianist, who have just undergone an acrimonious divorce after a long-poisoned marriage. Richard's sudden diagnosis with ALS and swift decline bring them under the same roof again as Karina moves back to take care of him, forcing them to confront long-buried truths about their relationship and themselves. The narration alternates between Karina, the sometimes bitter, always stalwart caretaker, and Richard, the patient who has lost his physical abilities, but gained emotional clarity. Genova meticulously catalogues the disease's physical ravages and corresponding psychological toll, which makes for gut-wrenching but suspenseful reading. The strained, frustrated, yet tender dynamic between Richard, Karina, and their grown daughter, Grace, occasionally spills into the saccharine, though the high emotion usually feels justified given the subject. The detail Genova infuses into each narrator's thought process, observations, and love for music makes them distinct, yet also reveals their compatibility. Genova also admirably refrains from making either too angelic; their harrowing journey, though it lacks any true narrative surprises, is both substantively informative about ALS and an emotionally wrenching psychological portrait.
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Every Note Played
This book was beautiful and difficult to read. Lisa is able to make the reader see and feel the characters so well. You truly understand each character and where they come from. ALS is a terrible disease and this book makes understanding it very clear. I loved the characters and their stories.
Once again Lisa Genova delivers a powerful and gripping web of the most vulnerable beings. At once tangled between hating and feeling obligated to care for her ailing ex-husband Genova tells a gripping story of love, and at times hatred toward a man that was once a world class pianist with adoring fans now left with no use of his hands and no longer enthralled by the glitz and glamor of being famous. A story of the vulnerability of being human
This is a truly frightening yet beautiful read... it tells the story of the declining health of Richard, a concert pianist as he succumbs to ALS and how his estranged ex wife becomes his care giver. The author spares us no detail this horrible disease is exposed in all its horrors. I actually read it twice, a first for me, the first time I was truly mesmerized and horrified and irritated that I couldn’t just fit it all in on one sitting... the second time I used the piano music playlist on the authors website the music that Richard loved to play and that Karina rediscovers, wow how powerful especially the Chopin for the final scene... I cried with this book