Monday, July 30, 2018

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Although I didn't find this quite as disturbing as Still Alice it was still an extremely moving account of a man's deterioration due to ALS.

Richard was an accomplished concert pianist; his ex-wife, Karina, a talented jazz pianist in her own right who essentially gave up her musical career to nurture Richard's.  At the start of the book Richard has just received his diagnosis which, most tragically for a concert pianist, begins in his left arm which slowly becomes paralyzed.  Before his right arm can follow, he masters a concerto specifically written for the left hand only.  But despite his desperate wishes, shortly after he loses the use of his left hand too.

Despite a team of dedicated home caregivers, as the disease progresses Richard is unable to live on his own and the best option seems to be moving back in with Karina.  While Karina becomes his full time caregiver they are able to slowly work through their past resentments and come to some sort of understanding while they still can.  Richard is also able to repair his relationship with his college aged daughter and his older brothers.

As in all her books, Genova provides chilling details about what it must be like to come into the grips a terrible, debilitating and ultimately fatal disease.  She expertly conveys Richard's sense of being trapped in his own failing body.

While hard to read at times, I did find the book an interesting read.

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