Reviews

Glenn Gould: A Life in Pictures

Derek Fairbridge

What is there to say about Glenn Gould that hasn’t already been said? Anyone who is interested in the subject is already familiar with the many mythologies surrounding this gangly, pill-popping agoraphobe who wore winter coats year-round and played the piano with neurotic precision and stunning clarity. Yet Glenn Gould: A Life in Pictures (Doubleday)—filled with rare black-and-white photos from the CBC, the National Library of Canada and Columbia Records, as well as family snapshots—is still a fresh and relevant book. The substantial introduction by the Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page sums up Gould’s life and work succinctly yet generously. The images themselves are a bit disappointing: many are too blurry to work as full-page blow-ups. Still, the photos capture Gould’s character, a strange amalgam of self-conscious awkwardness and camera-conscious vanity. And somehow even the fuzzy photos are effective, showing Gould as a flailing whirlwind of creative energy and a fascinating kook.

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Derek Fairbridge

Derek Fairbridge is the editor of Vanilla Crow, a zine published in Penticton.


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