Plano Reads: The Violin Conspiracy
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Plano Reads: The Violin Conspiracy

Brown Bag Book Club meets on Thursday, April 25 from 12-1:30pm at Parr Library to discuss The Violin Conspiracy by Bendan Slocumb.

“Alone, we are a solitary violin, a lonely flute, a trumpet singing in the dark. Together, we are a symphony.” 

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Growing up as young black teen in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life would seem to have limited dead-end options. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become an elite professional violinist, and nothing will deter his ambition. Not his mother, who wants him to get a regular job; not the fact that he can’t afford a quality violin; not even the racism inherent in the realm of classical music, where a black violin soloist is a novelty.  

When Ray discovers that his old, family fiddle is in fact a valuable Stradivarius, all his dreams begin to materialize, and together, Ray and his violin tour the country and become famous. But on the eve of the renowned Tchaikovsky Competition, the violin is stolen, and a ransom letter for five million dollars left in its place. Without it, Ray feels like a piece of his own identity is gone. As the competition looms, Ray must not only recover his priceless instrument, but prove to himself—and the world—that no matter the outcome, there has always been a truly great musician within him. 

“While the whodunit element of Slocumb’s novel is unlikely to stump mystery fans, his writing is strong, if a little unpolished in parts. Still, it’s a gripping novel, and Slocumb, himself a violinist, does an excellent job explaining the world of classical music to those who might be unfamiliar with it. A solid page-turner.” – Kirkus, 2021

“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.” – Booklist, 2021

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