My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - < 1 day
Pages - 316
Publisher - Allen & Unwin
Source - Bought
Blurb from Goodreads
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 a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.
Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.
He knows his left arm will go next.
Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.
When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.
Richard is a gifted piano player, travelling and playing worldwide. He left his wife and daughter three years ago, lives in a beautiful apartment & eats and drinks the best of foods. Karina his ex wife gave up her own musical career so he could flourish and she would raise their kid. Grace is now in college - loves mum, hates dad, Karina (wife/mum) is a bit lost and Richard is intolerable with his self absorbed attitude. Everyone knows their place in the world and everything is fine until Richard starts to experience some issues with his fingers/hand. Richard is diagnosed with ALS, he remains stubborn and refuses to accept the inevitable, regardless of his acceptance or telling anyone ALS is here and life as they know it is about to change.
Oh you guys, I love Genova's books (not always how they end) but she brings these horrific diagnosis's to life, gives them faces, names and the reader experiences and lives it with the characters. The one with the condition, the families and loved ones viewing it, processing it, enduring it, the person trying to come to terms and a very real picture of how it tears their lives apart.
I had a hard time relating to Richard, he is not a likable character but you soon feel for him as everything he knows is stripped away. I had a lump in my throat a few times because it is just such a horrific condition that strips the person of everything, literally everything they have. By using an unlikeable character I think it punches in a bigger impact because you can't help but be pulled through it, from all their experiences. The wronged ex wife, the neglected child (playing second best to his precious career) and him, the person as he is and his battle as he is stripped, bit by bit, of the very things we all take for granted every day.
Hard hitting, graphic descriptions and scenes of exactly what this condition steals from you and in such a short period of time. Character development, sadness, grief, relationships, family, love, loss, health and at the end of the book a website you can read more on this and donate. 5/5 for me, I think I went through a whole host of emotions and I have never known anyone personally who has had this, I can only imagine the impact of someone who has reading it. Grab the tissues and comfort food, you will need it. I love these kinds of books because despite it being fiction, because of her career she pulls from actual experience and creates characters to give it heart, a face, ooft it is brutal and lets you learn as you go, absolutely recommend!
I read this last year, no idea why I forgot to post it here, this book has stayed with me!