Woman’s World: a graphic novel
By Graham Rawle
Atlantic Books London, 2005
Transitioning from reading for study purposes to reading for leisure has been a challenge these past few months and it has taken time to move into the world of fiction and reading for fun. However, Woman’s World is the first read that I have enjoyed.
Woman’s World is constructed entirely with found text from women’s magazines in the 1960’s. The author wrote the outline of the story and over five years replaced his written outline with text found and cut out from magazines. The author used a traditional cut and paste method to create the pages that were then scanned to make the final work.
This technique, in constructing a story, initially drew me to this novel. I was curious as to how it would read and whether it would work effectively without being disjointed. I wondered about the content of women’s magazines, from a particular time period, and whether it would create a context and culturally shape the world of the fiction created.
This method of constructing a novel, from text found in women’s magazines in the 1960’s, added to the layers of the story in a way I hadn’t considered. References to clothing, appearance and cleaning added meaning to the plot and contributed to character development and interactions.
With found text Rawle has created a work that captures the world of these magazines and a world of the characters in this novel. As ‘he do the police in a differnt voice’, a blogpost on IF: the future of books states “Rawle stitches phrases and words together to create something new’.
I didn’t know anything about the story before I started reading and I was pleasantly surprised with the ease I felt in losing myself in the storying. Suspense came into play and the emotional journeys took shape. My consciousness of the text from women’s magazines, was strongly present throughout my reading but this did not detract from the storying. Instead it proved crucial to the overall development enhancing the reading of the novel.
…I will not share the plot here as the thriller moments are best discovered by oneself. Enjoy.