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

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This reviewer, for one, could feel inclined to object to that “bare” (sentences are not bare; sentences possess magic), but Kym’s achievement exceeds infelicities of prose.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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 café, 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.
 

About Min Kym

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South Korean-born and raised in the UK, Min-Jin Kym began playing the violin at the age of six. A year later, she entered the Purcell School of Music as the school’s youngest-ever pupil. She won first prize at the Mozart International Competition at age eleven, and at thirteen, in 1991, made her international debut with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 she was awarded the title “Most Promising Artist of the 21st Century” in South Korea. Ms. Kym’s first recording, Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, was released in 2001 to critical acclaim, followed by a debut recording for Sony Music of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in autumn 2007. Min-Jin Kym has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, and she has also performed regularly at international festivals, in concerts and recitals with her duo partner, Ian Brown. She is a goodwill ambassador for the city of Seoul.
Author Residence: London
Author Hometown: Seoul, London
 
Published April 25, 2017 by Crown. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Gone
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 21 2017

The story of losing, regaining, and losing the violin again keeps the author torn between accepting responsibility and resenting others. “I had devils in my ear,” she writes. A pellucid memoir of letting go and coming to terms.

Read Full Review of Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Lif... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by RO Kwon on Apr 22 2017

This reviewer, for one, could feel inclined to object to that “bare” (sentences are not bare; sentences possess magic), but Kym’s achievement exceeds infelicities of prose.

Read Full Review of Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Lif... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Ellen on Apr 03 2017

The loss of the violin represents the “Gone” of this remarkable and original memoir, though only in the context of all the other things that are taken...

Read Full Review of Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Lif... | See more reviews from Guardian

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80%

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