A child prodigy, a violin virtuoso, and her stolen Stradivarius

Review of Gone: A Girl, a Violin, A Life Unstrung
Rating *****

Gone is the story of a violin virtuoso and her stolen Stradivarius. I am listening to Min Kym’s Gone album as I write this review. I have also listened to other pieces mentioned in the book. There were many times as I was reading this story that I thought back to the film Amadeus. I kept picturing Antonio Salieri reading the music sheets of Amadeus and him hearing the entire orchestra playing in his head. I wasn’t able to do that as author Min Kym mentioned various violin pieces, but I was able to queue them up in Groove.

While this is a memoir of a child prodigy, it is also part mystery. The mystery being the story of her stolen violin and the impact it had on her. I found both stories fascinating throughout.

Anyone who has had something of value lost or stolen can empathize with Min when her precious Stradivarius is stolen. For me, it was a hard drive crash that took with it years of financial data, images, photos, important documents, a partially written screenplay, and two years worth of videotaped interviews that I did for a book that I had only just released. I had no backup.

In Min’s case, her Stradivarius was not only a huge financial loss (750,000 pounds), but it was much more personal and had huge ramifications for her career.

I don’t want to giveaway the ending, but I will say that I found the quandary that Min faced regarding her violin and its fate to be the most compelling part of the book.

Min eloquently describes why the Stradivarius is such a sought after instrument. But I really can’t fathom why a top of the line violin made today can’t match the same quality and sound. I would be willing to bet that the majority of people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

This review was based on a pre-release version of the book. The version I read had many grammatical errors. Hopefully, that will have been taken care of in the final version.

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