Every Note Played

Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (625 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.

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about Every Note Played

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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

12 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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Beautiful and heartbreaking

This book brought me to tears more than once. The characters are flawed and complex. This book beautifully shows how complicated love and family are while also dealing with the pain and suffering and impossible choices associated with a degenerative disease. You know from the beginning how this story will end but this book is still worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

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

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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What a horrible disease!

This book is beautifully written and read. I had no idea. While it is a very sad story, it's glorious in it's representation of the disease and all of it's horrors. While I hope that I never have to face this horrible disease in either myself or anyone near me, this book certainly enlightened me. God bless anyone who has it or who cares for someone who has it. Very good book. I JUST Thought of something that would have made the book superior, and that would have been to add the individual pieces of music mentioned in the background. Music was such a powerful element of the book, and I'm not a classical fan. So I would have loved to have had the specific mentioned pieces playing in the background as the reader read. Just a thought.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mumoffive
  • 09-03-20

Touched my heart

A wonderful book, sad, heartwarming and breaking wrapped into one. Perfectly narrated with empathy and class. Highly recommended.

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  • Carol Gladwin
  • 05-28-18

So touching and insightful.

Love her characters and ability to help you relate to them. She is an amazing storyteller.

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  • V_Nerdbooks
  • 05-25-18

5 Heartbreaking Stars

Oh my goodness this book certainly hits you right in the feels! This is all about the story of Richard and Karina, they were married for a while, but it all kind of went pear-shaped and they split a few years ago, they have a daughter between them, Grace, who is currently at University, and doesn’t really have much to do with her father. Richard is a pianist, a really famous concert pianist, he has played all over the world, and has many fans and admirers, Richard loves this, he loves that fact that people love him, he is quite an arrogant man. Karina is also a pianist, she prefers Jazz, she gave up her dream as a performer to support Richard in his dream. The thing is, Richard took advantage of this, while he was away playing with the orchestra, Karina was looking after their new baby, Richard however was looking after his own needs with other women! Karina couldn’t take it anymore, and rightly left him! Richard is unfortunately diagnosed with ALS, he tries his best to cope with it on his own for a while, but after a strange twist of fate and a wrong number dialled, Karina ends up being his carer. This book pulls no punches in relation to this awful disease, it starts from the twitching in the muscles, and takes us through every terrible thing that can happen after diagnosis, like the wheelchair, or the fact that your body locks itself, or that you can’t swallow, or that you have the option of recording your own voice and “banking” it, because after a while you won’t be able to talk / eat / chew anymore. A big shout out also has to go for the guys who help care for people diagnosed with ALS, they are angels in a time of hell for the person with this awful disease, their time and patience with these people is remarkable. You may know a little about ALS, like seeing Stephen Hawkins, or you took part in the ice Bucket challenge to raise money for it. You may have first hand experience of this silent killer, I luckily for one have not, but i sure do send my hugs & prayers to anyone that has. Not everyone is like Stephen Hawkins, in fact ALS will probably kill within 3 years, it is a devastating disease, and i hope one day that we find a cure, because currently there is NOTHING! I didn’t realise that Lisa Genova was a neuroscientist, but after reading Still Alice & this book, it kind of makes sense, she knows exactly what she is talking about, and pulls no punches and rightly makes no apologies for it. It broke my heart, but i am am so glad i read it Prepare yourself for this one, it’s a tough read. Find your hankies, Vicci

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  • Sydney Cider
  • 07-03-18

Fantastic novel

This is a wonderful, touching story buy the female narrator with the whispering voice drove me insane. Totally ruined the story for me. I started every chapter hoping it would be the male.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marian
  • 06-25-18

Unforgettable

Another unforgettable book by Lisa Genova. What a gift she has in portraying unimaginable conditions in such a way. This book has so many layers and the connections with classical music were awesome. Just had to keep listening. Will stay with me for a long time. Thank you.