Every Note Played is a heart wrenching story about a couple who lost their way but not their respect, for one another. Karina and Richard are both musicians who fell in love over the piano. Karina plays jazz and Richard is more of a classical purist, yet they are able to find commonalities even beyond their instruments. Over time though, secrets and insecurities creep into their marriage, ultimately contributing to its demise. This aspect of the story is not unique or new; the added dimension is that Richard acquired ALS about xx years after the divorce, and Karina becomes his caretaker. They each have to face their own internal demons as well as make peace with how they treated one another.
As Richard’s disease progresses, he begins to develop humility. Karina rediscovers long lost confidence. The two figure out a way to live together while also facing Richard’s certain death sentence. Their ability to find a way to communicate and even somewhat reconcile make for a compelling read. Side characters include their college age daughter, Richard’s caretaker and Karina’s best friend; each one offers insight into the character’s development and move the story along.
Overall, though not an upbeat book, it is honest and informative. It was hard to put down, as I wanted to find out what would happen next. The emotional complexities made the book compelling. I also have relatives with this disease and learning about what they go through was difficult to process, yet I appreciated learning more about the disease. Though fiction, the author did a tremendous amount of research and I think that what it is in the book is an accurate depiction of some one with ALS. She also shared information at the end about new trials, which offer hope to those afflicted. Strongly recommended.
(Received an early copy of the book from Net Galley and have provided an impartial review.)