The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

The Ensemble

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 who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resi...

Details The Ensemble

TitleThe Ensemble
Release DateMay 15th, 2018
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Music, Novels, Adult, Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Womens, Adult Fiction

Reviews The Ensemble

  • Jamie
    I loved this. I loved it I loved it. Never have I read such glorious writing about music and about musicians. I want to say something poetic about how the author builds the four characters into a harmony even when they're pushing against one another in dissonance, and how it's about a quartet but it reads like a symphony but I'll just say that I loved it and leave it there.
  • Kate
    I think this will be my favorite book of the year! THE ENSEMBLE follows four musicians over a decade and a half, beginning with their string quartet debut in graduate school, and then dropping in at two- to four-year increments. The quartet's story (and their stories as individuals) is so familiar to anyone who has been seriously involved in classical music. As a former clarinetist (well, someone who still plays but with no professional aspiratio...
  • Lydia
    Friendship and relationships over decades- it reminds me of Meg Wolitzer's amazing THE INTERSTINGS centered around music vs camp.
  • Allie Rowbottom
    THE ENSEMBLE is a stunning debut, almost unbelievable in its range, lyricism and beauty. This book reminded me of character studies and coming of age novels like FATES AND FURIES and THE MARRIAGE PLOT, with the added complexity of a quartet of characters. Their entwined lives, drives and heartbreaks are set against the backdrop of the insular world of classical music, ultimately resulting in an epic meditation on competition, community, individua...
  • Danielle Lazarin
    Being in a quartet seems more difficult than being in a marriage. There is so much to hold together, so much work to be done, so many boundaries to delicately cross with people who ask you for everything and yet who you are tired of walking on eggshells with, so much unexpected bodily wear, so much unspoken and necessary love in its mere existence. I adored this book, wanted to return to it night after night, and am desperate for it to be out so ...
  • Kathi
    The tempo and flow of this book really reminded me of A Little Life. The four friends, alternating chapters, from when they meet as kids to when they become older, etc.... but the subject matter was obviously quite different. I enjoyed learning about music and a topic I would not normally have had any knowledge about, and I loved the writing. I felt like I was supposed to learn something about life and love and relationships from this, but I don'...
  • Kristen Beverly
    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.
  • Irene
    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!
  • Jenn
    Read via a Netgalley ARCI really, really liked this, despite having like NO musical knowledge. Everything about it was just so interesting!
  • Rachel Watkins
    If you're a musician and play with others, you are part of an intimate relationship. THE ENSEMBLE is the story of a string quartet together for years that examines the connections each person has with the other. Aja Gabel's debut is lovely and I highly recommend listening to the pieces the quartet performs during each section of this beautiful novel.
  • Kim McGee
    This coming of age story follows the life and career of the four members of the Van Ness String Quartet. These young driven classically trained music students begin in college and we follow their lyrical story stopping at brief intermissions broken into important concerts in their lives. With lyrical magic their stories read like the music they play and the reader is introduced to the competitive, sometimes brutal life of a classical musician. Fr...
  • Brooke
    BROOKE’S REVIEWAja Gabel’s lyrical novel, The Ensemble, follows the Van Ness Quartet from their time at the conservatory into their adult lives as professional musicians. Brit, Henry, Daniel, and Jana are as unique as the instruments they play, but they are inextricably tied together through their music and their choice to play together in the quartet. For musicians, former musicians, fans of Mozart in the Jungle, this novel is for you. It’...
  • Sherwestonstec
    I did enjoy this book! “Jana, Brit, Daniel, Henry. They never would have been friends if they hadn’t needed one another. They would never have found one another except for the art that drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for one another.” This is the story of four people who meet in their 20’s, it tells the stories of their struggles, love relationships, inner demons, basically life! I...
  • Kelleyann
    This was like The Secret History with a string quartet and a happy ending. Not as climactic for sure, but the writing and characters are so beautifully arranged and well executed. It was definitely a bit of a slow burner, not a lot dramatically happening plot-wise but I thought the relationship dynamics were super interesting.
  • Sarah
    4.5 stars. I truly loved this and I hope it makes a big splash when it releases in May.