Glenn Gould was a fascinating man – a genius, troubled, difficult. And with her graphic memoir Sandrine Revel gives us an impressionistic take on Gould; it’s a rather brilliant book if you know anything about the man and/or his music. But it could be a head-scratcher for graphic-novel enthusiasts walking in unknown. There are whole pages of wordless panels that delve brilliantly into Gould’s psyche and assess his mental state. This could all seem like some weird mystery though.
The artwork is wonderful. The writing is spot on – taut, occasionally dreamy.
As a book, a story and artwork, it takes you there. As close as is likely possible to the internal dilemmas of the hypochondriac/obsessive-compulsive traits and the seemingly god-given talent.
The details are all there, in Gould hunched over the kids sitting low on a cut-down chair; never perfectly poised at a purpose-built piano stool.
Check out one (or both) of the playlists included here to get you started. Or to jog your memory as you read this book.
I love the graphic memoir as a form – and with someone like Gould I feel this works as well, if not better, than the bog-standard bio. There is of course a great documentary you might search for after this and YouTube footage and such.
It’s a fascinating world, one of the towering talents of classical piano – and with a head full of bees all of the while.
Revel is a dab hand here, she gets Glenn Gould, gets to the heart and mind and soul of the man. And his music. And the way the music was made. And most importantly the troubles in his life that fed into that music-creation and that filtered back out as a result.