Richard is an accomplished pianist, touring concert halls and playing with the world’s most amazing symphony-orchestras. His personal life, however, is a mess. With many affairs, a bitter divorce, and a teenage daughter who barely speaks to him.
Unfortunately, Richard also has ALS. He has watched, over the past eight months, as he has gradually lost the use of his right hand, knowin that this is only the first heartbreaking loss of many that ALS will bring him.
Karina, Richard’s ex-wife, is stuck in a drab and bitter existence, blaming Richard for the end of their marriage and her unfulfilled life as a piano teacher. When she first hears the rumors of Richard’s ALS, she doesn’t want to get involved. However, as she begins to see Richard’s steep decline, she reluctantly becomes his caregiver, affording them both an opportunity to give and seek forgiveness.
I noticed . . .
I noticed that Richard is kind of jerk. Genova’s writing is not sympathetic towards him either.
I noticed that once Richard begins to really decline, the decline happens quickly.
I wondered . . .
I wondered if Karina really made the move that she was contemplating and went back to playing jazz.
I wondered more about Bill. I’d have liked to have heard more of his backstory.
I wondered how Stephen Hawking survived so long with ALS. According to the author, most ALS patients die within four years of their diagnosis. Hawking lived for decades.
It reminded me of . . .
I was reminded of The Lost Love Song because of the prominence of music. Also, both books feature a concert pianist as a main character. I can’t think of a time when I’ve read another book with a concert pianist in it, much less two in the same month.
The Authenticity Project took an unlikeable person and made the readers feel a connection with them. Richard isn’t a likable person, and Genova makes us feel for him by the end of the book.
Karina’s attitude and personality kind of remind me of Missy’s attitude in The Love Story of Missy Carmichael.
Another book featuring an unlikeable character that is dying is 59 Memory Lane. Just like Richard, the main character of this book is attempting to resolve her past mistakes while she still can.
I also thought of Afterlife, which is a completely different book with a wife grieving her husband’s death. I truly believe that Richard and Karina are both grieving both Richard’s diagnosis and his impending death.