"You won't be able to quit these characters." -goop
The addictive novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of classical music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. They would never have been friends if they hadn't needed each other. They would never have found each other except for the art which drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for each other.
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who's always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group's youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other - by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.
Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel's debut novel gives a riveting look into the high-stakes, cutthroat world of musicians, and of lives made in concert. 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.
A BOOKLIST "TOP 10 FIRST NOVEL"
"In Ms. Gabel's terrifically entertaining debut, the frictions of long-term friendships are woven into the "webbed, collaborative endeavor" of the quartet. Their music doesn't transcend the mess of living; it testifies to it." -The Wall Street Journal
"Reminded me of Zadie Smith's Swing Time... The language that Gabel uses to describe both the pressures of prestige chamber orchestras and, simply, what it is to be a human in the world, is a work of art in and of itself. I found myself highlighting dozens of passages, marveling at just how impossibly relatable these people are... [I]t's the perfect form of escapism for me." -Entertainment Weekly
"This lilting, richly detailed story follows a group of friends - also a string quartet - as they grow and change together thoughout adulthood. Told from alternative perspectives, it gives us a riveting look inside the world of classical musicians and an intimate study of friendships." -Marie Claire
"Phenomenal first novel.... The Ensemble is really a love story. Love of music. Love of friends. Love of family. The genius here is that the reader becomes a part of the ensemble, too, so immersed in these people, that to call them characters seems a disservice. Like them, we feel the pull of time, the need for the music. In the brilliant coda, after we have become very aware of them as individuals, their lives are once again part of one single whole, and here, are collectively narrated, with the yearning of nostalgia." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Gabel's rich characters and melodic prose (fitting for a story about professional chamber musicians) make the novel a satisfying read. Comparisons to Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings are apt." -Real Simple
"[A]bsolutely sublime... Mark our words: you won't be able to put this exquisite book down." -Refinery29
"A page-turner of a debut.... The Ensemble is set in the world of classical music (so, yes, this is a good book for all you Mozart in the Jungle fans) and tracks the way the friends, who comprise the Van Ness Quartet, navigate their youthful inexperience, riotous success, professional failures, and all of the other things that come with sky-rocketing ambition and a reliance on other people." -Nylon
"I fell so hard for the four friends in Aja Gabel's debut novel, which follows a young, ambitious string quartet as they try to sort out their complicated relationships to music and each other. The last time I wanted characters to be real this badly-or, you know, felt like they were-was when Lauren Groff's Fate and Furies came out. The Ensemble is about desire, disappointment and success, betrayal and loyalty, and the ways that our friendships shape the people we become. You won't be able to quit these characters." -goop
"Stunningly resonant... With remarkable assurance, Gabel takes the four [characters] through their shaky early performances and expertly ties their individual and collective lives together with generous doses of empathy... A virtuoso performance." -Booklist (STARRED review)
"Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom." -Library Journal (STARRED review)
"Wonderful.... The four characters are individually memorable, but as a quartet they're unforgettable." -Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
"Aja Gabel's ambitious debut novel is a beautiful study of just how apt a metaphor classical music is for relationships." -New York magazine's Vulture
"Aja Gabel's debut novel centers around the four friends who make up the Van Ness Quartet: Brit, Daniel, Henry, and Jana, each wildly different but electric together despite the ups and downs of their career in music. Gabel examines the intricate complexities of their intense friendship, loyalties, and ambitions over a decade and a half in this book, which itself reads quite like a lyrical composition. You'll come for the music and stay for Gabel's realistic portrait of moder
Part 1 Brit: Violin II In this way, the concert happened without any of them being there at all, really. If the "Serioso" was also about love, Brit tried to remember the vast swath of her life when she didn't love Daniel, but while they were playing, it was impossible. His boyish face contorted uncontrollably, erotically. She wondered if he felt that way about her, too, watching her play, if anyone did. And she decided no, that wasn't quite the way she played. Brit liked nuance, liked to be the supporting voice, the harmonic line you didn't know you heard. But Daniel, as cellist, was a presence to be noticed. And like a grunting tennis pro, he couldn't manage his face when he was really inside of the music, he wore his effort there, and so it went practically unconscious, and he slipped into some liminal area where desire met work. He squirmed in his seat, propped his right foot on its ball, twisted his nose so that his glasses would stay up, and that mouth. She'd never loved someone's mouth before, hadn't even really thought about the mouths of men, but here was Daniel's, bow shaped or snarled by turns-how could it not be erotic? This was his submission, his participation in a disorderly beauty. So this was the way she'd be close to him. It was as good as any, possibly better, Brit thought. What civilian, what regular other woman could have this intimacy with him, could know his body this way? She'd take it. But another realization came over her, nearly in conjunction with the lovely one that preceded it: there would always be this distance. And here was the main theme of the "Serioso," bursting out of their instruments in unison, an incredible and brave composition, but Brit had never felt more far away from it. This was it, all she would have of him, of any of them, just this collection of mechanics, a finely timed-well, finely enough-working together. The physical truth of it was shattering, him over there and her over here, and no matter how hard she tried, Beethoven would not join them together. Daniel was thinking of mechanics, too, though not in the same way. He was thinking that he'd chosen a career that should have been conquerable because the mechanics of it could be learned. And he'd learned so much, was so much older than the rest of them, and wanted it so bad, had nothing to fall back on-yet here he was, still sweating and struggling through the "Serioso." No one worked as hard as him. But he saw now that was because they didn't have to. Jana's high, clear playing was curated to perfection, Brit played evenly and subtly, and Henry hadn't made a single misstep, not even in rehearsal, in the entire time Daniel had known him. He became angry in such a way that-not for the first time in his life-he saw no way out of it. During the third movement, Henry watched Daniel fully settling into his anger, an anger that seemed greater than their unison minuet. Henry saw everything, but he did not react. Perhaps that was the real mistake that night, Henry not trying to do something to show Daniel that it was okay, because that was the moment where everything began to unravel. But what was there to do to temper Daniel's anger? It ran as an undercurrent to the relentlessness and speed of this third movement, jumping note to note, cutting the edges more sharply, speeding up what was already a too-fast tempo set by Jana. But Henry didn't do anything to stop it. He didn't feel it was vital. Jana would later take the blame for starting the fourth movement a tad too fast, but she would also blame Brit for failing to take her cue to slow down in the rubato, and Henry for taking the speed as a chance to make a wild, embarrassing show of his supporting voice, and Daniel, whose sixteenths simply couldn't keep up, whose fast sections came off messy, student-like. Why had she started it so terribly, though? The whole piece had been slowly building to this breakdown, in fac
Auteur Aja Gabel
Product type Paperback
Maat 228 x 152 x 24 mm
Gewicht van product 411 g
Bezorgdatum: tussen donderdag, 11. juni en maandag, 15. juni
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