In her latest book, Every Note Played, Lisa Genova explores the complexity of forgiveness in the face of tragedy. How does a person let go of a series of wrongs in order to do the right thing?
Richard Evans is known throughout the world for his concert piano skills. His fans adore him, other musicians aspire to play like him, and women want to be with him. However, when he finds himself diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), no one wants to know him. He is all alone in the world, except for an ex-wife whom he hurt and betrayed time and again and a daughter who he barely knows. He chose the piano, touring and other women instead of being with his family. Now alone and becoming more and more helpless, Richard realizes the mistakes he has made. But is it too late to make amends?
Karina, his ex-wife, has been trying to move on for the last few years without much success. She is in the same house, doing the same job, and is filled with anger for the life she never had. She also wanted to be a successful pianist and was, in fact, much better than Richard when they were starting out. But when she got pregnant, she let her dreams slide away. She loves her daughter, but still blames her ex-husband for being a part of losing herself. However, she has some things to be forgiven for as well. She had her own secrets during their marriage.
When Richard can no longer live by himself and doesn’t have the resources for round-the-clock care, who will step up to help him during the last stages of his life? Will it be Karina, who can barely stand to look at him, or his daughter Grace, who is filled with resentment for having a father who was never around?
Genova shows the devastation of a disease that has no cure and slowly robs its victims of every function, until it takes away life itself. She also portrays the power of family and what forgiveness can do for the soul.
Lisa Genova lives in the United States and is a New York Times best-selling author who has appeared on Dr. Oz, the TODAY show, CNN, PBS Newshour, and NPR. She has a degree in Biopsychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. To find out more about her, please go to https://www.lisagenova.com/.
Written for The Felixstowe Magazine in the U.K.