The Ensemble: A Novel

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Though their personalities are very different, string players Jana, Brit, Daniel, and Henry share extraordinary talent and the ambition to make a name in the world of chamber ensembles. They came together at the beginning of their careers, with first violinist Jana as their leader, and they have seen many highs and many lows as they compete, perform, and push themselves to ever-greater levels of technical skill and musicality. They are a family of sorts, tied to one another even as they form lives outside of the group–lives that often conflict with the intense demands of the ensemble. As years–decades–pass, the musicians deepen their commitment; but the threat of someone choosing to leave the group is always present.

Gabel spends time with each member of the ensemble as the novel skips over years and milestones. There is some suspense as the group prepares for career-defining competitions, but the propulsive force of the story lies in the approach and retreat of four people who know one another better than anyone else in the world–but who are also aware that they can never know one another fully. Gabel, a former cellist, deftly describes the music and the physically taxing practice of playing it, and The Ensemble is as much a story about musicians as it is a tribute to the music that defines their lives.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Riverhead Books
Publish Date 2018-May-15
ISBN 9780735214767 Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Modern Literature


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