The Ensemble by Aja Gabel: the life of a musical quartet

Summary

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Why should you read this book?

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel follows the story of a musical quartet which is composed by Jana, Brit, Henry and Daniel. Encompassing almost two decades, this book focuses both on their lives as musicians and their lives in the outside world – or their attempt of having a life apart from their job and passion. The chapters alternate between each character and one of the most interesting aspects of this debut novel is exactly that: discovering and understanding the four musicians through each other’s eyes.

I thought the beginning was quite interesting and even well-developed but, at a certain point, the book just fell flat for me. I had this feeling that Aja Gabel knew how to begin and end her story but the middle wasn’t as good. Being sometimes overwritten and underdeveloped characters-wise, I kept thinking this book was precocious. And it got myself thinking: I believe Aja can really write about their younger years (perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the beginning and ending so much) but I had the impression the author failed in depicting their middle age years.

Despite this, I must emphasize that the first 80 pages and the last chapter, named Coda, were good and promising. I actually started this book while I was feeling a bit anxious and those younger years were so beautifully portrayed that truly inspired me and helped me.  Thus, Aja Gabel is an author to watch for and has potential to become an amazing writer. I also loved the musical background, which was brilliantly developed.

I’d like to thank Riverhead Books for the free copy. You can buy the book here.

“I like to be really happy sometimes and really fucking sad sometimes and all the things in between.”

Book Details:

Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House)
Published on: May 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Price: $26.00

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