The Ensemble by Aja Gabel is one of those books all over Instagram. The cover is beautiful, bright and inviting. But we know not to judge a book by its cover so let’s take a closer look at the story.
This one is unique as it centers on a group of musicians but not rock or pop—a string quartet.
Here’s the synopsis:
The addictive debut novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of music and their complex relationships with one another, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
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, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.
In The Ensemble, each person picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together–by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, and by choosing each other over and over again.
Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a behind-the-scenes look into the competitive, mysterious world of high level musicians. 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.
The Ensemble is the debut novel from Aja Gabel. Perviously, Aja has written short fiction, which can can be found in New England Review, New Ohio Review, Glimmer Train, BOMB, and elsewhere. Her lyric essay, “The Sparrows in France,” appeared in Kenyon Review and earned her an honorable mention in Best American Essays 2015.
Check back soon for a review!