The Ensemble

The Ensemble

A Novel

eBook - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Penguin Publishing Group, 2018.
ISBN: 9780735214781
Characteristics: 352 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 31, 2019

So-so. Relatively well-written but the prose is a bit laboured, like the product of someone who has taken creative writing classes (as she has). I read "Educated" after this. Now there is a natural, born writer!!

Apr 19, 2019

If you like Chamber music, each section of this book has a list of the works that this fictional group is preparing to perform during the period addressed in the story. They are all fabulous works, worth listening to.

DPLjennyp Jul 26, 2018

One of my favorite reads of this year. Gabel's insights on human-nature are far beyond her years.

Jul 07, 2018

This was an interesting look into the classical musical world and the dedication it takes to make a quartet work as a team. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I don’t have much patience for people who “just need to get on with their lives”, but as I pondered the four people in this novel I realize I’ve never had the passion about something, and their passion for music is foremost in their lives.

Jun 21, 2018

I loved following the ups and downs of this string quartet--each with their own temperaments and talent levels. Through it all, there is an undercurrent of whether the group will achieve success, and if they'll stay together. I've never been a musician, but this book gave such insight into the musicians' experience--the way it changes your body, the joy, the monotony, the pain, the moments of transcendence.

Jun 21, 2018

Brilliant debut!
Music can only be felt, no linguistic equivalent. But the author took the challenge well, turned into an advantage, reached for the sublime, in her lyrical style, plot structure, full-fleshed characters, romantic realism, spanning over two decades, a symphony of our time.

The book may have a higher barrier for ones who don’t play/love/know classical music. The members of the quartet maybe considered selected privileged few, reclusive in their own music haven.
I wish the book could be popular.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top