The Ensemble by Aja Gabel audiobook

The Ensemble: A Novel

By Aja Gabel
Read by Rebecca Lowman

Penguin Audio
11.62 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
  • $20.00
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    ISBN: 9780525528364

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"Pitch-perfect." —People "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.

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Summary

Summary

A Library Journal Editor’s Pick for Spring

A May 2018 LibraryReads Pick

"Pitch-perfect." —People

"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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

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 modern friendship. Buzzfeed
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
Wonderful.... The four characters are individually memorable, but as a quartet they’re unforgettable. Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom. Library Journal (STARRED review)
Aja Gabel's powerful debut offers a sensitive portrait of four young musicians forging their paths through life: sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes in harmony, but always inextricably linked by their shared pasts. Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere
With uncommon clarity and empathy, Aja Gabel brings us inside the passionate, complex, and sometimes cutthroat intimacy that exists among the four members of a string quartet. A wise and powerful novel about love, life, and music. I didn't want it to end. Maggie Shipstead, New York Times bestselling author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me
I often admire novels that are platforms for their writers' own stories, upon which their own singular character, with its own singular history, is carefully incised. This, however, is a novel of a different, more expansive, and altogether more electrifying kind. Aja Gabel contains at least four complete human beings inside her, and I'm guessing countless others. She knows these people down to their cells, and she gives all of herself to them. Kevin Brockmeier
The Ensemble deserves a standing ovation. A gripping tale of four musician's journeys through discord and harmony, life and love. Aja Gabel is a brilliant young writer with the rare gift of an old soul. Mat Johnson, author of Pym and Loving Day
Compelling. Town & Country
Sweeping, romantic, elegiac, The Ensemble gives you the feeling of being inside the music of a quartet, a look into the relationships under the music, the love and heartbreak, set against their ruthless commitment to both their art, and to each other. Aja Gabel is a phenomenon. Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
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)
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
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
Pitch-perfect. People
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
A BOOKLIST "TOP 10 FIRST NOVEL"
“A riveting look inside the world of classical musicians and an intimate study of friendships.” Marie Claire
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
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
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
[A]bsolutely sublime... Mark our words: you won’t be able to put this exquisite book down. Refinery29
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
“Gabel’s first novel explores the ups and downs of their chamber group, the Van Ness Quartet, as their relationships and talents grow and mature. Each character is fully developed, each action and emotion is believable and relatable…Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom. Each of the four parts begins with a selection of chamber music pieces that make a wonderful and fitting aural backdrop.” Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Aja Gabel

Author Bio: Aja Gabel

Aja Gabel, a former concert cellist, is an author whose writing has appeared in BOMB, Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia, and a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. She is the recipient of awards from Atlantic Monthly, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Literary Arts Oregon, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she was a 2012–2013 fellow in fiction.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 11.62
Audience: Adult
Language: English