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June 7, 2017

Book Notes - Min Kym "Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung"

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Min Kym's Gone is a fascinating and intimate memoir.

The Wall Street Journal wrote of the book:

"Moving... An honest account of what it is like to have a life knocked off course by a freakish occurrence... Particularly intriguing is her account of her early years, which deals with the experience of being a 'child prodigy' and effectively rebuts many of the myths that surround musically talented children.... She writes beautifully of her own anxiety as she was forced to choose between devotion to her violin career and her desire to have a more 'normal' childhood."

In her own words, here is Min Kym's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung:

These are 10 songs I listened to whilst writing Gone. All of them favourites from childhood but some rediscovered during those 2 years. Thank you for listening to them with me! 

1. Elgar Salut "d'amour"
Love's greeting. Elgar at his most romantic, and written as an engagement present for his wife to be.  I remember hearing it for the first time aged around 7 or 8 and being completely enchanted by its beautiful harmony and melody. Simply magic!

2. Bob Dylan "Blowin' in the Wind"
I listened to this a lot whilst writing the book. It questions so perfectly the man made world being but a mere interpretation of life's meaning.

3. Tarrega Recuerdos de la Alhambra
An incredibly evocative piece of music that sweeps you into the nostalgic past of 13th century Grenada. Just beautiful.

4. Hungarian Dance no 2
A real fiesta of a piece. Bohemian and full of vigour and passion, its spirit and verve is wonderfully inspiring - and guaranteed to get you toe-tapping along!

5. Beethoven piano concerto no 4 finale
The last of his concertos that he was able to perform himself before his advancing deafness became a certainty. It is a radiant work and my personal favourite of Beethoven's concertos.

6. Verdi Caro nome from Rigoletto
A touching and poignant aria from the heroine Gilda, an innocent and sincere expression of first love.

7. The wonderful jazz standard "Everytime We Say Goodbye" by Cole Porter
Just a simple song about the happiness of togetherness, and the agony of separation.
8. Mozart Serenade no 10 K361
Known as the "Gran Partita" it is a sublime and effortless conversation between 13 instruments - 12 woodwind and continuo. Absolutely exquisite music that could not have been written by any other than the genius of Mozart.
9. Adagio from Schubert String Quintet
Written only months before his death, you can hear how Schubert has already entered into another world - he takes you with him to the gates of heaven.
10. Faure finale from piano quartet no 2
A tour de force, impressionistic work. That there is comparatively little known about the history of this work adds to its mysterious allure. Full of passion and relentless drive, it culminates in a crescendo of pure joy.

Min Kym and Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung links:

The Arts Desk review
Financial Times review
Guardian review
Guardian review
Kirkus Reviews review
Spectator review

All Things Considered profile of the author
Guardian interview with the author
Irish Examiner profile of the author
The Leonard Lopate Show interview with the author
New York Times interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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