A Romance on Three Legs


Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest For The Perfect Piano

This evocative, detailed account of the compulsive search for a sensitive, highly responsive concert piano by Canadian musical wunderkind Glenn Gould combines the parallel histories of one of the most controversial and brilliant pianists of the last century and the incredible keyboard instrument on which he played for some of his most important recordings. 

In A Romance On Three Legs, Katie Hafner presents a fascinating biography of Gould, who was known for his quirks, including his wearing of winter gear on summer days, his donning of fingerless gloves while playing, his manic fear of germs and hand shaking. The book will greatly appeal to those intrigued by the history of the influential German-bred Steinway piano company, but it is the close interaction of Gould and Charles Verne Edquist, the nearly blind piano tuner, with a Steinway CD 318 concert piano, that lifts the book above the usual biography. This book will help readers appreciate Gould’s ingenious interpretations of the early Mozart sonatas, and his majestic rendition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.


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“…reading Hafner on Gould is sometimes as much fun as listening to him play. And that’s saying a lot.”
Kirkus Reviews
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“Hafner weaves together three stories–of the pianist, the tuner and the piano itself–into a single cohesive narrative, the musical version of Seabiscuit…”
Library Journal
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“Hafner, in writing an entire book on such a narrow subject, reveals herself as an extraordinary storyteller….A book for Gould fans, piano lovers, and those who enjoy an unusual tale well told. Highly recommended.”