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 whos 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 groups 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 togetherby 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 Gabels 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....
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The Ensemble Reviews
4.5⭐ Stellar writing with such complex and rich characters and relationships. Blown away that this is a debut novel. Loved being immersed in this world of classical music. ...more
4 lives are intertwined by music. It’s messy, beautiful and poetic, much like the writing in this book. As a musician, I loved reading about how their music and lives intersect.
A brilliant, beautiful novel about what binds us together. These characters will stay with me forever.
It is such a pleasure to read a book like The Ensemble where your heart warms to characters as if they are acquaintances in your own life that slowly turn into friends. Gabel does an excellent job teetering between heartbreak and revelation, mapping the punctuated changes of people as they grow and love and learn from one another. A great book club read, beach read, rainy day read, or any day read!
I enjoyed this book and the story of four musicians. It is one of those books in which not much really happens but it spans many years and is a great character study. It was beautifully written. But I felt there were just parts my eyes would just skip over and that there was a lot of filler that got tedious.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
It's fitting that a book centered around music would have a lyrical writing style. The Ensemble is a perfect debut novel with that unputdownable quality you look for and characters that are expertly developed. I wanted to live in this book and be friends with these characters. I'm already calling this one of my top books for 2018.
I liked this debut novel about four young musicians who come together to form the Van Ness Quartet. The group includes first violin Jana, their resilient and headstrong leader, second violin Brit, the consistent and sweet orphan, Henry on the viola, the prodigy who has gotten everything he wants in life, and Daniel playing cello, the oldest and angriest of the group. The Ensemble follows this chamber group's rocky start to its glorious heights. Amidst their music comes drama in their in ...more
While the writing was lovely and strong a lot of what Gabel was trying to say got lost in technical musical terms. Also there wasn’t much of a plot. No driving narrative. Perhaps future efforts by Gabel will home her excellent writing while showing improvement in storytelling.