Gone, a girl, a violin, a life unstrung. Min Kym

In this column I would like to draw attention to a memoir about a violin virtuoso whose instrument is stolen. Its title is “Gone” with subtitle “a girl, a violin, a life unstrung” and it is written by Min Kym.

Most violinists consider Antonio Stradivari to be the most famous violinmaker. He was born in 1644 in Cremona, Italy. Every solo violinist would like to play on a Stradivari violin. But there are only 450 Stradivari violins left. Min Kym, born in South Korea and raised in the UK, began playing the violin at the age of six. At twenty-one, she found the violin she would play as a soloist, a Stradivari from 1696. Her career took off. Then, while drinking a cup of coffee with a friend 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. From the insurance money she is able to buy another violin and express herself again. Finally, her stolen Stradivari violin is found but she cannot simply get it back as it is now owned by the insurance company.

This book is about (classical) music and Min’s Korean family. But it is also a coming-of-age memoir. Min reconsiders her life so far, her past as a child prodigy, the role of teachers and a dominant friend. In the end she finds the means to express herself again but at the loss of her beloved violin.

Several violin pieces are mentioned in the text. An album is released by Warner Classics accompanying the book, containing all the violin pieces.

Hans van der Weide