Saturday, April 11, 2020
Early today I finished listening to an mp3 version of the powerhouse novel, “Every Note Played”, by Lisa Genova, a terrific writer who meticulously researches her book topics. She’s a Ph.D. in neuroscience, was influenced by the writings of Oliver Sacks, and tries to grasp every detail of the disease in her attention. Her self-published first novel, “Still Alice”, still enlightens readers about alzheimer’s, its impact on individuals and family units.
“Every Note Played” focuses on ALS, a slowly-paralyzing disease that might be the worst afflict an individual suffers. Contrasted to Alzheimer’s, which causes a slow loss of memory and finally all of it, ALS paralyzes slowly, too, but physically, while leaving total thought capacity. ALS patients anticipate their own total paralysis and demise.
There are two key characters in “Every Note Played”. One is a renowned concert pianist diagnosed with the onset of ALS. The story takes us through his gradual paralysis, his awareness, fears, anguish and anger. Other key characters are his divorced wife and their college-age daughter. Secondarily, there are friends, caretakers, and physicians.
Music is a major theme throughout this story. His lifelong motivation has been to achieve as a pianist a technical perfection that includes emotional expression. His ex-wife also is a talented pianist and equally passionate about music.
The chapters, in turn are from his and her viewpoints. They speak to playing and listening to music, the aftermath and spoils of divorce, the onset and gradual acceptance of disease. This is a story of how love and experience may bind people together.
I was struck by the talented mp3 readers who brought alive all the words and concepts. I’d read “Still Alice”, and figured Genova would bring on slowly the full impact of ALS, she’d teach and involve readers. That happened, and I couldn’t pause the novel, my attention never wandered.
Alzheimer’s and ALS are afflictions awful for an individual and family unit. Genova’s excellent stories themed around illnesses are reminders that knowledge may help to comfort inquisitive minds.
Dear Readers: This novel is readable, enjoyable, informative, and even soothing. Diana