Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 87

Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo

by Sandrine Revel
Genre notes: biography, music
136 pages
ISBN: 1681120658 (Amazon)

I got this for my wife for Xmas because she's a big fan of Glenn Gould. I wasn't even sure I'd ever heard him play (though I definitely have now). She really liked the book but wanted more details about his life. I, on the other hand, was bowled over by Revel's prowess as an illustrator—as well as her choices in how to visually narrate Gould's life from the side of his bed after the stroke at age 50 that would kill him within two days.

Revel's biography opens in Canada's Great White North with a wandering polar bear looking over at Gould, who plays an invisible piano in the middle of the tundra in tuxedo while wearing a dog mask.

It's an ambitious work, neither telling straight biography nor getting into the details of how he did what he did. Instead, Revel evokes the life lived through imagery that often does the opposite of overtly revealing the man at the center of the project. One of the best graphic novel biographies I've ever encountered.

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