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Every Note Played

Written by: Lisa Genova
Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From neuroscientist and New York Times best-selling author of Still Alice comes a powerful and heartbreaking exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce - his divorce. 

He knows his left arm will go next. 

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn't moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard's muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it's too late.

Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

©2018 Lisa Genova (P)2018 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the critics say

"Narrators Dennis Boutsikaris and Dagmara Dominczyk bring to life this compelling story... Boutsikaris gets inside the mind and spirit of Richard... Dominczyk brings complicated layers of anger, regret, resentment, confusion, and love to the voice of estranged wife Karina." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

This is a rare beautiful book that takes you inside two worlds that shouldn’t intersect but do; ALS and the life of a classical pianist. The people are very real, flawed, facing heartbreaking decisions. You know where the book will end up in one sense but the tension between the characters keeps you wondering whether they will survive emotionally too. The performances are just superb. I will definitely listen to this one time and again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lisa Genova delivers.

As usual, Lisa Genova comes across with a story that puts the reader in that place. You feel the pain, the frustration, and the joy of life. The research that goes into her work is amazing. I wait for her novels. #Audible 1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a wonderful listen and lessons in LIVING and letting go with ALS

Lisa Genova... another amazing story that takes you INTO the story. Beautifully read in character by the actors. I listened to this on a road trip with my 14 year old son, before long he had put his game aside and was listening along with me, asking to listen to more each time we got back in the car and the conversations we had.... priceless. Have your Kleenex ready and get r day to expand your heart and understanding. #Audible1

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendi
  • Houston, TX
  • 2018-03-23

Not Nearly As Good As Her Others

What I feared might happen has definitely happened. Lisa Genova is showing more of her 'neuroscientist' personality in her books, which should be a balance of rich, complex characters as well as neuroscience.

I loved 'Still Alice.' I adored 'Left Neglected.' The O'Brien's are a family I won't soon forget. However, 'Every Note Played' falls flat. (Pardon the pun).

Usually we see the 'beginning' of the rare disease Genova writes about. Her characters have symptoms and then get diagnosed. In 'Every Note Played' we are immediately notified that the main character, Richard, has ALS. We are then told his story and the story of his ex wife.

The description of ALS is so personal and effective. The way Genova describes the ongoing ruin of Richard's body makes the reader (listener) cringe. The picture is clear, and Richard's pain and suffering are so real. Obviously, as always, Genova has done meticulous and immaculate research on the progression of the disease. (All of her books are focused on some kind of disease or disorder).

The problem is, the characters are completely unlikable. I wanted to stop listening several times because, quite frankly, I hate all three major characters- especially the one with ALS. Genova has disassociated the fiction with the facts, and the book comes off only as an in depth description of what happens during the frightening and terrifying stages of ALS.

I was hoping for more, but I respect Genova's writing and research abilities. Bring back characters like Alice and the O'Brien family Lisa!

-Wendi

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julia
  • 2018-03-21

Gripped me from the first word.

I did not like this book. I adored it. Yes, the subject matter of ALS is devastatingly sad but it is one of those subjects that is either swept under the rug or spoken of in hushed tones. In ‘Every Note Played’ it is approached without frills and very much in your face. It is raw yet poignant.

It is a story of great loss. Loss of a god given gift ripped away by a heartless disease. Loss of love stolen by pride. Then remorse followed by a kind of peace that touches your soul.

Lisa Genova has,as ever, done her research and is medically accurate. This is a superb book as time flies when you are listening to it. The narrators gave brilliant performances.

Five stars all the way.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-03-30

Excellent story; female reader poor

Powerful and sensitive story well-written. Male reader excellent. Female reader style greatly diminished the listening experience. Her voice descended into whispers way too frequently making it difficult to hear... especially while driving. The power of the story was lost in those whispers. Quite unfortunate.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • PATRICIA
  • CHICO, CA, United States
  • 2019-01-20

I was disappointed

I loved "Still Alice" so I was expecting more from this book. I appreciated learning so much about ALS. But the novel just didn't work for me. I never really cared about the characters. They were never developed enough for me to connect with them. I understand the author's interest in making readers more aware of the disease but I felt the novel was rushed to get that information out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Minneapolis listener
  • Eden Prairie, MN
  • 2018-12-09

Lots of excellent information

This book is a worthwhile education in ALS, but both main characters are so flawed and self-ansorbed that liking this book is difficult.

It is an easy listen and moves right along, but the arrogant Richard and the angry and self-defeating Karina are immature in spite of their years.

Voice actor Dennis Boutsikaris is excellent but you want to urge the actress who plays Karina to pick it up and move it along. Too neurasthenic by a lot. Her accent, however, is charming.

There is a fairly nice kid, which I always like to see.

Educational but far from uplifting. Perhaps that is too much to ask from such a terrible disease.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn
  • 2018-11-21

Gut-Wrenching, Captivating

Genova writes truly human, unflinchingly flawed characters who are met with a cruel and dignity-robbing disease that backs them into a corner of guilt, burden and the question of responsibility. A candid depiction of ALS and the deterioration of the body throughout the awful progression of this disease.

The undercurrent of our need for redemption and amelioration is weighty and true. Who is forgiveness really benefitting? There is also the age-old tale of how a supportive wife gets lost in her efforts of giving, thereby GIVING UP her sense of self and her own dreams, and then becoming irrevocably resentful. After finally breaking free of those chains, would you be willing to get locked in them again under the pretense of helping a severely compromised ex-husband? This is a story of blame, forgiveness, the weight of love and our willingness to set aside pride in the waning moments left in a person's life. This is a story of what it takes to say the things we cannot say. Genova's writing is informative and honest. You won't love these characters, but you will love this story. I ciuldn't stop listening.

The narrators are flawless. I doubt I would have had the same reaction to this book if I'd read the print version ~ this is a case when narrators enhanced the experience. Dennis Boutsikaris is simply outstanding as the disease progresses and his voice exemplifies Richard's journey from taut arrogance, through disbelief and denial to stark surrender. Dagmara Dominczyk depicts a wife mired in excuses and blame. Her anger and her anguish are palpable. I was so affected by the hospital chapters, as soon as I finished listening to the novel, I immediately sought out Schummann's Fantasie in C Major. Breathtaking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rosemary Dillon
  • 2018-04-28

Lisa Genova writes wonderful novels

I have loved her stories of people and families dealing with very difficult neurological disorders. I am a nurse with a better understanding of ALS and it’s impact on patients and caregivers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicole
  • 2019-08-27

Excellent

Get your Kleenex ready! As always, Lisa Genova is superb. Excellently researched, empathetic, emotionally written, and an eye opening read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joni P.
  • Gibson City, IL USA
  • 2019-07-27

An In-Depth Look at Living with ALS

Lisa Genova is one of my favorite authors. Her book, "Still Alice," resonated with me as my mom struggled with dementia. This book offers the same human struggle. It takes a devastating disease and walks you through what it might be like to suffer from the disease, and the ways it could affect people who are caregivers and loved ones. Lisa never fails to make me cry, but I feel that both books I read also focus on positivity at the closure.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 2019-05-03

Give it a few chapters

I really struggled in the first few hours. I LOVE Genova's writing, but the narrators for this particular performance had me struggling. I am sure there was a purpose for the unusually plodding tone but it was an obstacle in the opening chapters (for me). Later, it made sense. By the end, I connected and invested.