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Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

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An emotional, touching and provocative novel highlighting the effects and impact of motor neurone disease. Concert pianist Richard is diagnosed with ALS (motor neurone disease), the progressive paralysis begins with his right hand, no longer able to work, unable to use his arms, his condition quickly deteriorates, and his ex-wife Karina and estranged daughter Grace find themselves stepping back into the picture. Lisa Genova writes with incredible sensitivity, the words can be factual, blunt, yet the almost diary like feel allows the feelings to take centre stage. Focusing on Richard and Karina, on living with dying, memories, triumphs and regrets scatter the pages. Both have cause for remorse, both display unlikeable attributes, and yet, and yet… This isn’t a fairytale, I knew there wasn’t going to be a happy ending, yet I was surprised at the amount of love and hope between the pages. ‘Every Note Played’ is powerful, stark, and strangely beautiful, I truly loved it ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Lisa Genova you might also like to read books by Suzanne Bugler, Catherine Ryan Hyde and Rachel Simon.


Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

A virtuoso performance by the bestselling author of Still Alice, Lisa Genova delivers a stunning novel of finding harmony amidst the most tragic of situations. An accomplished concert pianist, Richard has already suffered many losses in his life: the acrimonious divorce from his ex-wife, Karina; the estrangement of his daughter, Grace; and now, a devastating diagnosis. ALS. The relentlessly progressive paralysis of ALS begins in the cruellest way possible - in his hands. As Richard becomes more and more locked inside his body and can no longer play piano or live on his own, Karina steps in as his reluctant caregiver. Paralysed in a different way, Karina is trapped within a prison of excuses and blame, stuck in an unfulfilling life as an after-school piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman. As Richard's muscles, voice and breath fade, the two struggle to reconcile their past before it's too late. With a strong musical sensibility and the staggering insight of Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, Lisa Genova has delivered a masterful exploration of what it means to find yourself within the most shattering of circumstances.


'Lisa Genova is unquestionably the wise counsellor who would get you and yours through the worst. She's a philosopher and her books are quite simply brilliant' Judy Finnigan

'Lisa Genova's novels ring true . . . Beautifully written and poignant to the point of heartbreak' USA Today

'Remember how you couldn't put down Still Alice? Well, clear your schedule because you're going to feel the same way.' -- Jodi Picoult

'We climb into the hearts of a normal, chaotic, loving family. A story about the resilience of love in the face of a tragic, inevitable fate.' Julie Cohen on INSIDE THE O'BRIENS

About the Author

Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. She is a member of the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International and DementiaUSA and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer's Association. She lives with her husband and two children on the Cape. Still Alice was her first novel and her second also centers on a neurologist impairment called Left Neglected.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2018


Lisa Genova

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Allen & Unwin


320 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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