Every Note Played

Every Note Played

From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful 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...

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Title:Every Note Played
Author:Lisa Genova
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Every Note Played Reviews

  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    4.5 stars!

    Powerful. Emotional. Heart wrenching. Captivating. Eye-opening. Informative.

    Every Note Played is the story of Richard, a world famous pianist who, in the midst of his thriving career, develops ALS. We witness this devastating disease take over and paralyze his body, stripping him of his career, relationships, pride, independence, freedom and more.

    I admit I knew next to nothing about ALS prior to picking up this engrossing book. Lisa Genova beautifully writes an engaging and deeply mov

    4.5 stars!

    Powerful. Emotional. Heart wrenching. Captivating. Eye-opening. Informative.

    Every Note Played is the story of Richard, a world famous pianist who, in the midst of his thriving career, develops ALS. We witness this devastating disease take over and paralyze his body, stripping him of his career, relationships, pride, independence, freedom and more.

    I admit I knew next to nothing about ALS prior to picking up this engrossing book. Lisa Genova beautifully writes an engaging and deeply moving story that took me on a journey that I will never forget. Genova compassionately reveals the private details - the symptoms, medications, side effects, equipment needed and family decisions that this devastating disease forces upon you. It is not an easy read, but it is an important one.

    This book impacted me so deeply. At the end of the novel, there is “Lisa’s Call To Action”. It asks the reader to put ‘empathy to action’ by making a small donation to ALS care and research. (For more information, please visit

    and click on the “Readers In Action” button). Upon finishing this novel, I headed straight for that website. My donation is in the hopes of research finding a cure, but also as a way to ‘thank’ Lisa Genova for writing this deeply touching and unforgettable book.

    This was a Traveling Sister Read which largely enhanced my reading journey. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog at:

    A big thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Lisa Genova for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review! It was an absolute honour and pleasure to read this fantastic book!

  • Norma * Traveling Sister

    Wow!! EVERY NOTE PLAYED was an absolutely phenomenal book and it was quickly placed into my 2018 favourite reads shelf!

    EVERY NOTE PLAYED by LISA GENOVA is a deeply moving, sad, and an absolutely fantastic novel that had me totally emotionally engaged and interested throughout the entire book. I was totally immersed in this story making it extremely hard for me to put down.

    LISA GENOVA delivers an empowering and beautifully written story here with an extremely enthralling storyline that was easy

    Wow!! EVERY NOTE PLAYED was an absolutely phenomenal book and it was quickly placed into my 2018 favourite reads shelf!

    EVERY NOTE PLAYED by LISA GENOVA is a deeply moving, sad, and an absolutely fantastic novel that had me totally emotionally engaged and interested throughout the entire book. I was totally immersed in this story making it extremely hard for me to put down.

    LISA GENOVA delivers an empowering and beautifully written story here with an extremely enthralling storyline that was easy to understand and follow. The story is told in two different perspectives from Richard’s point of view who is a world-renowned concert pianist living with ALS and his ex-wife’s, Karina his caretaker. I was totally in awe with what I learned about ALS, the characters courage throughout this book and the familial dynamics between the characters.

    To sum it all up it was an interesting, powerful, unforgettable, emotional, and an enjoyable read with a very touching, heart-wrenching, and bittersweet ending. Would highly recommend!!

    Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Lisa Genova for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book. It was an absolute pleasure!!!

    Review written and posted on our themed book blog:

    Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading

    Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.

    Where I live I am surrounded by Coulees!

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Richard is a famous concert pianist diagnosed with ALS. His ex-wife, Karina, teaches children piano lessons in his shadow. When Karina learns of Richard’s diagnosis, she walks through many different expected emotio

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Richard is a famous concert pianist diagnosed with ALS. His ex-wife, Karina, teaches children piano lessons in his shadow. When Karina learns of Richard’s diagnosis, she walks through many different expected emotions, especially since their divorce was less than amicable.

    As the heartbreaking effects of ALS ravage away Richard’s body and his ability to do what he loves most, he is forced to accept help, and eventually it comes from the most unexpected person, Karina. What follows is a captivating tale of redemption and sacrifice.

    I learned a vast amount about ALS- its effects, how it progresses, but most importantly, how it might affect the emotions of the individual with the diagnosis, as well as the loved ones impacted.

    On a personal note, my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few years ago. While it is not ALS, I felt an attachment because as Richard lost his ability to play piano, what he loved most in his life, I was repeatedly thinking of my dad who has lost his ability to sing due to Parkinson’s. My dad studied voice and music, and even though he’s self-conscious about singing now, he was able to sing a few words of Happy Birthday to me back in December. A memory I will treasure, as I will cherish the experience of reading this book. I couldn’t help but feel personally connected to Richard’s story.

    Overall, Every Note Played is a book I highly recommend because it’s well-written, thoughtful, enlightening, and poignantly powerful.

    This was a Traveling Sister Read with the best kind of book to share with my sisters. Please check out Brenda and Norma’s blog for all the Traveling Sister reviews:

    Thank you to Lisa Genova, Gallery/Scout Press, and Netgalley for the copy.

  • Elyse

    Any reader or movie goer by now has at least heard of “Still Alice”, about Alzheimer’s and dementia by Lisa Genova, which was first published in in 2009.

    I read that book back in 2009...before the entire world had started raving about it — which they should rightfully so - for being one of the best books they had ever read about the disease —hearing specifically from the person who ‘has’ the disease.

    I had bought the book myself many times and given it as a gift.

    I’ve never thought of Alzheimer’

    Any reader or movie goer by now has at least heard of “Still Alice”, about Alzheimer’s and dementia by Lisa Genova, which was first published in in 2009.

    I read that book back in 2009...before the entire world had started raving about it — which they should rightfully so - for being one of the best books they had ever read about the disease —hearing specifically from the person who ‘has’ the disease.

    I had bought the book myself many times and given it as a gift.

    I’ve never thought of Alzheimer’s the same again since first having read Lisa’s book. “Sill Alice” literally change to me.

    I’ve since read all of Lisa’s books. In each one I’ve learned about a disease from a PERSON WHO HAS IT .....and/or such as the people ( family), whom the disease also most effects in a very real/personal - raw way —while also being accurately educated on the grueling gut wrenching factual details of the disease itself — the developmental stages - the care involved - not leaving out any of the painstaking realities. Every book has been worthy of my time to read.

    Lisa’s comprehensive research- being a brilliant Harvard/linguistics teacher and researcher....along with being a wife and mother brings so much compassion and sincerity to her books, that I can barely pull myself away.

    I had recently read a couple books on ALS. One was an excellent graphic memoir , about how one wife coped with her children when her husband was diagnosed with ALS, called “Last Things”, by Marissa Moss...which was very moving and powerful..... so, although I wanted to read Lisa’s book, before I began, I had mixed feelings because I already knew this was a horrifically sad disease. I thought I pretty much knew everything.

    WHO WAS I KIDDING? Geeeee. What I knew only skimmed the surface.

    Lisa COMPLETELY CHANGED how I see *ALS* - my relationship to it if you will - not sure how to express it — my association with ALS has completely been shifted- elevated - and turned upside down and around! ( and I knew about this disease) —-I actually didn’t know about Alzheimer’s in 2009, when I read Still Alice.

    Today I do know more. Lisa opened the door to Alzheimer’s awareness ...with more research being done maybe even because of her.

    I’m suggesting that ANYONE who reads this book will walk away with MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ALS than any other mainstream book. ( unless this is your field of study or you have the disease yourself or are living with someone who does). I’m shocked and humbled by just how much I really didn’t get — not the nitty-gritty details which Lisa gives us. Lisa actually trusts us - the reader to hear the truth leaving nothing out. And its not pretty. Wasn’t for me.

    I thought this book was brilliant, and possibly Lisa’s best book to date. It was GUT WRENCHING— I MEAN GUT WRENCHING for me to read some of the chapters —-

    GRUELING- PAINFUL - I WAS IN TEARS:

    ....reading about feeding tubes, choking, shitting, pissing,breathing, swallowing, all the equipment, the details about the ASL clinic, the neurologist, pulmonologist, radiologist, speech-language, pathologist, gastroenterologist, barium mixed in applesauce, x-rays, special wheelchair, the BiPAP cart, the HeadMouse, liquid shakes, worry not to lodge the windpipe, aspiration pneumonia, food syringes....all of it could make me cringe.

    Honestly- I just wanted THE SUFFERING to end - I WISHED FOR A MERCY KILLING.

    I HATE HEARING ABOUT THIS DISEASE- THE FRICKEN WORSE!

    I’m sooooo sorry for those who have it - and God Bless the caretakers.

    BUT WAIT.......THERE IS ALSO STORY IN HERE TOO... about love, family, regrets, forgiveness and music.

    I’m a weeping mess.....THIS IS LISA’S BEST!

    .....You’ll meet Richard Evans- concert pianist.

    ......You’ll meet Karina - who not only was once an excellent pianist herself who now teaches piano out of her home - but that woman can cook Polish food like nobody’s business. She’s the ex-wife to Richard. They had one hell of a nasty divorce.

    .......Grace- is their daughter in college.

    .......Elise — ( always fun to read about a character with my own name) is Karina’s friend.

    .......Bill — Richard’s loving - fun - gay caretaker

    My heart is enraptured ........I have a much deeper understanding for what it feels like to live with ALS.

    Lisa invited readers to take a moment to make a donation to [email protected]

    . “Readers in Action: ALS”. - button to donation.

    ALS ONE, is an organization determined to deliver treatment or cure for ALS by 2020 and dedicated to offering improve care now.

    For more information on ALS ONE, go to

    Thank You Gallery/Scout Press, Netgalley, and the inspiring dedicated Lisa Genova

  • Diane S ☔

    Once again Genova takes us deep into the world of a debilitating illness, and it's effects on the person and their family. Richard was a man who was considered a success, a world renowned pianist, he has played all over the world, with many different symphonies, in many different venues. Piano has been his life since he was a young child, much to his father's dismay, and he has lost much in the quest for his career. Divorced from his wife Karina, his only daughter who he barely knows, now in col

    Once again Genova takes us deep into the world of a debilitating illness, and it's effects on the person and their family. Richard was a man who was considered a success, a world renowned pianist, he has played all over the world, with many different symphonies, in many different venues. Piano has been his life since he was a young child, much to his father's dismay, and he has lost much in the quest for his career. Divorced from his wife Karina, his only daughter who he barely knows, now in college, he is basically alone. First his right hand would no longer respond, a doctor's visit, eventually the diagnosis, ALS.

    Although I have heard of this devastating condition, I had previous to reading this, no first hand knowledge of this disease. Genova does not spare the reader as they learn of the horrifying progress of this disease. We read Richards thoughts as the degree progresses, as he loses not only his career, his love for his piano, but control of his body, step by step. Forced into a situation he has no choice but to accept, we watch as this very self involved man regrets many of the steps he took in his life. Karina, narrates her own story, the back story of she and Richard, and why she is doing what she feels she needs to now.

    Sad, yes, but this is also a novel of love, courage, second chances, regrets, responsibility and family. The hardships of caregivers, the fear of failing, and the amazing people who make this their career. It is humbling, scary, and emotionally engages the reader. All the things, this author, does so ably, both informative and personal, another unforgettable story.

    ARC from Edelweiss.

  • Emily May

    I don't know what it is that makes these, um... medical dramas(?) of Genova's so damn compelling. Some writers just seem to have that certain way with words that draws you into the story and the characters' lives. It doesn't matter that her books aren't action-packed;

    sees a famou

    I don't know what it is that makes these, um... medical dramas(?) of Genova's so damn compelling. Some writers just seem to have that certain way with words that draws you into the story and the characters' lives. It doesn't matter that her books aren't action-packed;

    sees a famous and extremely talented pianist developing ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease). Richard has dedicated his entire life to the piano and music. It is who he is on a deep, cellular level. In fact, he has sacrificed many other areas of his life to focus on his career playing with various orchestras around the world. When his precious hands start to fail him, he is forced to look at what's left of his life.

    It is obvious that the author is a neuroscientist. She knows the details of the disease and takes us through the grueling daily challenges of living with ALS that most of us probably never thought about. She dispels myths surrounding the disease - such as that ALS sufferers tend to live a long time, like Stephen Hawking. Hawking has lived an abnormally long time with the disease, and most people die within a few years of diagnosis. There is one pitiful treatment option available. There is no cure.

    Genova also creates some

    . There's no pity party for Richard. In fact, the perspective of the novel moves between Richard and that of his ex-wife Karina, and we discover that Richard has kinda been an asshole for a lot of his life. Arrogant. Self-absorbed. And yet this works really well and feels less manipulative than if Richard had been a saint.

    You might think we would have less sympathy for a man like this, and yet there is something deeply sad about it. To see this proud, arrogant man dress up in his tux, alone in his apartment, and play left-handed until he can play no more is hard to witness. In both this book and

    , Genova explores what it means to experience an ultimate loss of self - an intelligent woman losing her memories, a pianist losing use of his hands - and how a person must live with this.

    Her books are often sad books, but they feel refreshingly free of manipulation. They are not tear-jerkers that set out to make us cry. She simply creates interesting characters in terrible situations and explores how they deal with them. I like this. I equally like that she chose to focus on an unusual dynamic - that between a divorced middle-aged couple who really dislike each other. The relationship between Richard and Karina is as fascinating as everything else.

    Also, I was surprised how the author pulled me into the music part of the story. I’m not a musical person, to be honest. I love listening to all kinds of music, but I often feel cold when authors describe the feeling of being extremely passionate about playing an instrument and getting lost in the notes. That’s not something I’ve ever really understood and if you played me a note I couldn't even hazard a guess if it was ABCDEF or G, so books about music are usually boring to me. But the passion for music here really worked. The intoxicating feeling of the music as Richard uses it to escape reality is a good source of relief between the progressions of the disease.

    In short,

    is an unputdownable character portrait that informs about ALS on a painfully human level.

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  • Jen

    ALS. Another disease that robs people of who they are and leaves them in a carcass of who they once were.

    Richard, an established and famous pianist, develops ALS and loses his ability to play and so much more. His ex-wife, Karina, in a unselfish act to reconcile their differences as he nears death, offers to assist him with what's left of living.

    Genova is a masterful educator. Not only skilled in the neurological expertise she possesses but shares it in a story telling fashion that takes the co

    ALS. Another disease that robs people of who they are and leaves them in a carcass of who they once were.

    Richard, an established and famous pianist, develops ALS and loses his ability to play and so much more. His ex-wife, Karina, in a unselfish act to reconcile their differences as he nears death, offers to assist him with what's left of living.

    Genova is a masterful educator. Not only skilled in the neurological expertise she possesses but shares it in a story telling fashion that takes the cold science out of the disease and makes it compassionately human. 4.25⭐️

  • Susanne Strong

    Richard is a successful classical concert pianist. His life is his work. He gave up his family for it: his marriage fell apart and his daughter Grace has become a stranger to him. Yet his career has thrived. One day however, Richard loses all feeling in the fingers of his right hand and then his

    Richard is a successful classical concert pianist. His life is his work. He gave up his family for it: his marriage fell apart and his daughter Grace has become a stranger to him. Yet his career has thrived. One day however, Richard loses all feeling in the fingers of his right hand and then his entire arm becomes paralyzed. Unfortunately for him, this is only the beginning. Karina is Richard’s ex-wife. She too, is a pianist. If Richard is honest, she was a better classical pianist than he was. After they got married, Karina had Grace and her life took on a different path, one which she has never truly been satisfied with.

    Once Karina finds out about Richard’s disease, everything changes for both of them and she steps into a role she never imagined. Being Richard’s caretaker is not easy on either of them. Karina and Richard each have to find a way to let go. Of the pain and the resentment they feel. Richard towards the cards he is dealt and Karina towards her ex-husband.

    Lisa Genova is an incredible storyteller. In “Every Note Played” she expertly tells the story of a man who has ALS. She provides information about his disease in a way that gives us background, without overloading the reader with medical jargon. Ms. Genova makes it about Richard, Karina and Grace rather than just about the disease itself. Having read all of Ms. Genova’s prior novels, I can say that she always does her research and that was clearly the case here. I say this speaking from experience having lost two relatives to this awful disease.

    Thank you for bringing such an important story to the hearts and minds of all of us Ms. Genova. Well done.

    This was a Traveling Sister read. It was an extremely emotional book for many of the sisters and I was lucky to read it with them. Thanks for the discussions sisters! For the Full Traveling Sister Group Review, please see Brenda and Norma’s Amazing Blog:

    Published on Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter on 3.29.18.

  • Debbie

    No no no!! This read like a detailed, precise instruction manual for caregivers whose patients are dying horrible deaths. I wanted fiction! The fact that the book had characters and a plot couldn’t save it for me—I was too distracted by the endless and often gross descriptions of the ALS demon. I might as well have been reading about a puppy getting tortured to death.

    It’s just me, folks. Genova is an excellent writer and educator. I just think she went overboard this time. Eve

    No no no!! This read like a detailed, precise instruction manual for caregivers whose patients are dying horrible deaths. I wanted fiction! The fact that the book had characters and a plot couldn’t save it for me—I was too distracted by the endless and often gross descriptions of the ALS demon. I might as well have been reading about a puppy getting tortured to death.

    It’s just me, folks. Genova is an excellent writer and educator. I just think she went overboard this time. Everyone else loved this book, so just ignore my review. It’s so hard to admit that I hated it; I wanted to be in the gush club with all my buds. Perhaps a fuller review to follow.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

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