Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym [in Library Journal]
Kym’s first violin was a paper cutout copied from an encyclopedia; her first actual instrument was a “harsh, factory-made thing” on which she immediately taught herself “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” By her first or second lesson, Kym knew playing the violin “was not simply for me, but it was me.” Asthma attacks caused by the bow’s rosin couldn’t deter her.
A prodigy by 7, Kym hopped among countries, teachers, and instruments until she found her “soulmate” at 21 in her 1696 Stradivarius – which enabled her, she’s convinced, to achieve solo recordings, worldwide bookings, and international acclaim.
When her Strad was stolen from a London café, the thieves took not only her instrument, but her voice, even her sanity. She spent years “unstrung,” until she finally believes what a pianist friend insists: that she is the artist, not the violin.
Listeners who recall Kym’s appearances on the news might find Rebecca Yeo’s younger-sounding voice somewhat jarring in comparison to the deeper-toned Kym. More disconcerting is Yeo’s unfamiliarity with Korean, evidenced by mispronunciations of Korean words peppered throughout British Korean Kym’s story.
Verdict: For audiences previously unaware of Kym’s experiences, Yeo’s narration proves serviceable; for music or language aficionados, print might prove preferable.
Review: modified from “Audio,” Library Journal, October 1, 2017