Lisa Genova is one of my favourite authors. Her books are the kind of books that ingrain themselves into the folds of your mind and stay with you for a long time. That could have to do with the fact that she is a neuroscientist, but her ability to write words that connect to your soul is unmatched. Her latest book, Every Note Played doesn’t disappoint.
The story is about Richard, a famous concert pianist who has an ego bigger than the grandest symphony hall he’s ever played. But when some numbness in his fingers leads to a diagnosis of ALS, he starts to lose the ability to play his greatest love.
The story is also about Karina, Richard’s ex-wife. Karina also loved the piano once, like she used to love Richard. However, even though the marriage has ended, Karina seems unable to move on. Instead, she is holding onto the anger and seems stuck in her mediocre life of a suburban piano teacher just going through the motions.
But then Karina learns of Richard’s diagnosis. And she can’t help herself but offer her assistance. Reluctantly, she becomes his main caretaker, taking him and everything ALS encompasses.
This book is so sad, as we follow Richard’s deterioration from this horrible disease. But it is also so beautiful as it weaves an incredible journey of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. As Richard loses the ability to play the piano, walk, talk and even breathe, he struggles to find the words to right his wrongs. And as Karina battles her inner will, finding it harder to push her dreams down any more, she finds herself coming to terms with the man she blames for her not achieving her dreams in the first place.
This book is heartbreaking and infuriating, and Genova has a canning ability to provide two points of view to the same problem. The reader will have a hard time choosing a side, but will not deny that ALS is a horrible disease.
It’s a must read!