Jean Rhys said that "reading makes immigrants of us all," that "it takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Now more than ever, it's vital—and heartening—to read, and read widely. We'll read thrilling, mind-blowing, intriguing, heartbreaking, comic, strange, and/or provocative books by women of color—and, each month, we'll gather to talk about what we've read! When possible, we'll also have the writer join us.
May's book is THE ENSEMBLE by Aja Gabel
About The Ensemble
The addictive debut novel about four young friends navigating the cutthroat world of music and their complex relationships with one another, as ambition, passion, and love intertwine over the course of their lives.
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who's always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.
In The Ensemble, each person picks up the melody, from the group's youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together--by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, and by choosing each other over and over again.
Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel's debut novel gives a behind-the-scenes look into the competitive, mysterious world of high level musicians. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.
About AJA GABEL
Aja Gabel's debut novel, The Ensemble, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House.
Aja's short fiction can be found in New England Review, New Ohio Review, Glimmer Train, BOMB, and elsewhere. Her lyric essay, "The Sparrows in France," appeared in Kenyon Review and earned her an honorable mention in Best American Essays 2015. She has taught fiction, non-fiction, and literature at the University of Virginia, the University of Houston, Sweet Briar College, and Pacific University, as well as at undergraduate creative writing conferences and community workshop organizations. She earned her BA at Wesleyan University, her MFA at the University of Virginia and has a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston.
Aja has been the recipient of awards from Atlantic Monthly and Inprint, as well as fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she was a fellow in fiction 2012-2013.
She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Bear.
Books will be ready for pick up at The Ruby by April 23. We have galley copies of the book available for free. We’ll provide drinks and snacks.