Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo

Sandrine Revel, trans. from the French. NBM, $25.99 (136p) ISBN 978-1-68112-065-2
As a classic example of the eccentric genius, pianist Glenn Gould is an irresistible subject for biographers. Intense, fussy, and difficult, yet oddly charismatic, and cloaked in a protective cloud of quirks, he was hailed as perhaps the greatest musician of his era before retiring into Salinger-like seclusion. This appropriately refined graphic novel, awash in cool watercolors, skips through time from Gould’s strict childhood as the prodigy of demanding parents to the 1982 stroke that ushered in his death. In between, the genius aggravates his agent, quests for the perfect piano, and submerges himself in music. Prolific French cartoonist Revel plays with form and narrative convention, filling some pages with documentary realism, others with surreal fantasies. It’s hard to avoid comparisons to the cult-classic Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, which takes a similarly fragmented approach to evoking Gould’s life and work. But Revel’s stunning artwork makes this book, timed to commemorate what would have been Gould’s 85th birthday, a worthy new biography. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2016
Release date: 12/01/2016
Open Ebook - 136 pages - 978-1-68112-066-9
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