Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

Published April 6th 2017 by Viking
ISBN 0241263158 (ISBN13: 9780241263150)
With my thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book for review.


'All my life my Stradivarius had been waiting for me, as I had been waiting for her . . .'

At 7 years old Min Kym was a prodigy, the youngest ever pupil at the Purcell School of Music. At 11 she won her first international prize. She worked with many violins, waiting for the day she would play 'the one'. At 21 she found it: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. Her career soared. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned.

Then, in a train station café, her violin was stolen. In an instant her world collapsed. She descended into a terrifying limbo land, unable to play another note.

This is Min's extraordinary story - of a young woman staring into the void, wondering who she was, who she had been. It is a story of isolation and dependence, of love, loss and betrayal, and the intense, almost human bond that a musician has with their instrument. Above all it's a story of hope through a journey back to music.

'The hours fell away as I read this spellbinding tale of love, loss and above all devotion to art' - Susan Cain, author of international bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

My Review

This is a heart-breaking tale of loss. Min Kym tells the tale of how she became a musical prodigy, playing the violin to an exceptionally high standard from a very young age. Her eloquent and moving prose explores her journey of musical progression; sharing the joy she finds in music and exploring her own style until she finally meets the perfect violin for her, the 1696 Stradivarius that is introduced to her at the age of 21. She describes her relationship with the violin and the happy years they had soaring to new heights of success, until it all came crashing down when the violin was stolen.

I have played the flute since I was 7 years old and I hate to imagine how devastated I would be to have it taken from me and I can't claim to have a gift for music like Min Kym does. As I was reading this memoir I was keenly aware of how I would feel if I had suffered that loss and Min Kym carries you closely through the depths of her despair as she was manipulated and encouraged at varying times through the years after her violin was stolen. The violin is more than a simple instrument to Min, it is a part of her which she explains so eloquently that you feel heartbroken for her, particularly as the story progresses.

I was moved and devastated in equal measure and horrified by what Min went through. I am glad that she has regained her voice through this memoir, I wouldn't hesitate to give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Author

I have placed a link in the image below to Min Kym playing her beloved violin before it was stolen.

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