Author(s): Min Kym
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 caf , 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.
I loved Gone. It will stay with me for a long time -- Cerys Matthews A remarkable and original memoir . . . thrilling -- Barbara Ellen * Observer * Intense, elegiac and completely mesmerizing ... a beautifully pitched memoir which hits many different registers * The Bookseller (Book of the Month) * Riveting . . . her story of bereavement and resilience, and the determination to pursue one's art no matter what obstacles stand in one's way, is as enchanting as Kym's recording of a Brahms concerto * Glamour * A remarkable story of love and loss . . . Also a gripping thriller that contains a hint of scandal, as well as money, villains and a secret -- Helen Davies * Sunday Times * Fascinating . . . a tragic musical love affair . . . told in admirably lucid and uncluttered prose -- Adam Sweeting * The Arts Desk * Riveting . . . her story of bereavement and resilience, and the determination to pursue one's art no matter what obstacles stand in one's way, is as enchanting as Kym's recording of a Brahms concerto * Harper's Bazaar * A movingly uncertain memoir of obsession, love and loss . . . Kym has an easy, elegant way of describing music * Financial Times * Deeply moving -- Sarah Foot * Daily Mail * This book makes for a devastating but ultimately redemptive read. It is much more than a story about a lost violin: it is about who we are, how we love, how we grieve -- Clemency Burton-Hill * Mail on Sunday * Gone is an extraordinary memoir of violinist and child prodigy Min Kym as she grows to understand her gift * Good Housekeeping * A story to pluck at your heartstrings * The Times * Swiftly, skilfully drawn * Spectator * The memoir is both intensely raw- Kym's agony is at times so vivid it is hard to read on- and beautifully crafted * The Lady * An incredibly moving story * Radio 3 In Tune *
South Korean born and raised in the UK, Min Kym began playing the violin at the age of six. At seven she was accepted as the youngest ever pupil at the Purcell School of Music; at 16 she was the youngest ever foundation scholar at the Royal College of Music. The legendary conductor George Solti said she had 'exceptional natural talent, mature musicality and mastery of the violin'. In 2010 she recorded the Brahms Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. She was the first ever recipient of the Heifetz Prize, and is a goodwill ambassador for the city of Seoul.