1-Jan-2019

Michael Barclay’s biography of The Tragically Hip, published by ECW last year, is a comprehensive tome about one of Canada’s favorite rock groups and Gord Downie, the band’s popular front man and lyricist, whose final years battling cancer made front-page news. Barclay takes a holistic approach to the tale and invites his reader to think about his book with a smaller narrative arc. He states from the top that “half of this book is a chronological history…the other half [sic] extrapolates on various themes throughout the band’s 32-year career…all chapters are written in a way that they can be read in isolation…in whatever order you like.” I’m sure the author had good intentions by setting up his history in this fashion, but it’s bad advice. By creating a split-focus, right down to non-sequential chapters, he weakens the impact of the book and the import...

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