Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life UnstrungTitle: Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung
Author: Min Kym
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown Publishing Group; April 25, 2017
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

The spellbinding memoir of a violin virtuoso who loses the instrument that had defined her both on stage and off -- and who discovers, beyond the violin, the music of her own voice...

Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was -Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.- But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, violinist great Ruggiero Ricci called her -the most talented violinist I've ever taught.- And at twenty-one, she found -the one, - the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a London cafe, her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence. In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin's absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself...

My Thoughts:

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going on a bit of a hiatus from reading nonfiction. Well, that’s obviously over. It’s cancelled. I’m going to leave it at that, because when I saw Gone by Min Kym up for review, I was more than interested. Gone sounded like the kind of book I would love to read, and my initial assessment was right. Gone was truly a fantastic memoir that was worth the time I spent reading it.

I’ve read a couple of memoirs here and there, but Gone was something else. The subject dealt with music, which I rarely read about. Still, this seemed like such and authentic book because of the writing—which was engrossing—but also because Kym herself is the violinist. Min Kym wrote about her personal experiences. She talked about the expectations that were placed on her because of her obvious and natural skill with a violin and how her early lessons and learned habits ultimately affected her life. Gone detailed some of the most pivotal times in her life—both emotionally and professionally—and painted an honest picture. It was written from the perspective of a person who was a child prodigy from their perspective, not told by someone else. Gone was as much about the violin that was unjustly taken as it was the violinist behind the bow. And let me tell you, the result was powerful.

I could write more about Gone, but I’m not trying to summarize the whole memoir. There wouldn’t be a point to it. You’d have to read it to truly understand. That’s all I can say.

Now, I have looked up more about Min Kym and discovered that there is an album that was released as a companion to this book. I have listened to it. And it has reminded me of why I still, to this day, enjoy listening to classical music.

So, if you read the memoir also listen to the companion album too. That’s my recommendation. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have music to listen to.

Rating 5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

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