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The violin conspiracy

by Slocumb, Brendan,

Format: Print Book 2022
Availability: Available at 20 Libraries 29 of 97 copies
1 person on waitlist
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Summary
GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK! * Ray McMillian is a Black classical musician on the rise--undeterred by the pressure and prejudice of the classical music world --when a shocking theft sends him on a desperate quest to recover his great-great-grandfather's heirloom violin on the eve of the most prestigious musical competition in the world.

"I loved The Violin Conspiracy for exactly the same reasons I loved The Queen's Gambit : a surprising, beautifully rendered underdog hero I cared about deeply and a fascinating, cutthroat world I knew nothing about--in this case, classical music." --Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant and Hour of the Witch

Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian's life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream--he's determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can't afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.

When he discovers that his beat-up, family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach, and together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition--the Olympics of classical music--the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Without it, Ray feels like he's lost a piece of himself. As the competition approaches, Ray must not only reclaim his precious violin, but prove to himself--and the world--that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Violin prodigy Ray McMillian is preparing for the celebrated Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Two things make Ray unique among the competitors: like only 1.8 percent of musicians performing in classical symphonies, he is Black, and his violin, inherited from his great-great grandfather, who was enslaved on a North Carolina plantation, is a Stradivarius. In the course of this galvanizing blend of thriller, coming-of-age drama, and probing portrait of racism, we learn in flashback how Ray's relatives passed down a beat-up fiddle and how Ray, the first of his family to share his ancestor's love of music, came to learn of the instrument's provenance. But before all that, in the novel's opening pages, the violin is stolen. As Ray frantically works to recover it, he must also deal with being sued by members of his own family, who contest his belief that his grandmother gave the Stradivarius only to him, and by the descendants of the slave owners, who argue that Ray's relative stole the instrument. As Slocumb, himself a Black violinist, describes Ray's apprenticeship, always working "twice as hard as his non-Black counterparts," we are drawn completely into this moving story of an unfettered love of music and a passionate commitment to performing it. Skillfully juggling his two timelines, Slocumb builds tension exquisitely while writing about music with both technical precision and richly evocative metaphors. This flawless debut will do for classical music what The Queen's Gambit did for chess."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Black violinist Ray McMillian, the hero of Slocumb's gripping debut, receives a $5 million ransom demand for his Stradivarius violin after the instrument is stolen from his New York City hotel room a few weeks before he's due to perform in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition. When the police, the FBI, and the insurance company's investigator hit dead ends, the case comes to a standstill. Flashback to Ray's high school years in Charlotte, N.C., where he must deal with pervasive racism--and his mother nagging him to drop out and get a job. Meanwhile, his grandmother, who supports his musical aspirations, gives him her grandfather's violin. At college, where he receives a full scholarship, Ray endures prejudice from fellow students, and a luthier repairing the heirloom discovers it's a Stradivarius. This revelation leads members of the Marks clan, whose ancestors enslaved Ray's ancestors, to claim the violin belongs to them. Legal battles over the violin's ownership ensue. The tension builds as the competition looms, and Ray struggles to shake off doubts, not get caught in false leads, and focus on finding the missing violin. Slocumb sensitively portrays Ray's resilience in the face of extreme racism. The author is off to a promising start. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Violinists -- Fiction.
African American musicians -- Fiction.
Stradivarius violin -- Fiction.
Theft -- Fiction.
Ransom -- Fiction.
Racism -- Fiction.
Thrillers (Fiction)
Social problem fiction.
Bildungsromans.
Publisher New York :2022
Language English
Description 342 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780593315415
0593315413
Other Classic View