Book Review: The Ensemble

How do you remain your own person when you are one part of a whole? Aja Gabel’s debut novel delves into the intimate lives of the players in a string quartet.

Henry, the youngest and most talented, has a supportive family and is repeatedly encouraged to pursue a solo career.

The other three – ruthless Jana, bitter Daniel and gentle Brit – are estranged or orphaned; the quartet is their only chance for success. They live with a constant, quiet fear that Henry may leave them.

As the years pass, the players gain the recognition they crave. But success comes at the expense of their other relationships, and they each have struggles reconciling their private and professional lives.

Gabel’s personal history as a cellist gives The Ensemble great depth – not only in the complexity of the relationships, but in the physicality of the art: the calluses and aching muscles, damaged tendons and scarred skin.

A tender portrait of the everyday sacrifices made in pursuit of a passion.

Author: Aja Gabel
Publisher: Riverhead

Adelaide In-depth

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