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Woman's World: A Novel Paperback – January 6, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; First Trade Paper Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582434638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582434636
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At heart, Rawle's overlong fantasia—constructed entirely out of 40,000 text fragments, printed in facsimile, that he cut from 1960s British women's magazines—is a tribute to the pulp noir spirit. In suburban England circa 1960, 29-year-old Roy Little suffers from a split personality, apparently the result of a mysterious accident (or was it?) sustained by his sister in childhood. His other self, Norma Fontaine, lives in a dream of the latest fashions, beauty tips and handy hints for the home, watched over by an attentive if disapproving housekeeper, Mary. Or could Mary actually be Roy's mother? We find ourselves rooting for Roy as he applies for a job and meets the attractive, good-humored Eve in a cafe. But Norma keeps rearing her unruly head until one afternoon, she dresses herself to the nines and gets picked up by a photographer, Mr. Hands, with deadly results. British collagiste Rawle charms with sheer campy gumption. The text itself, however, looks like a cut-'n'-paste ransom note. It's fine for a page or two, but becomes wearisome long before the last of the 400-plus pages. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A brilliant invention, allowing full lyrical use of the available material...Woman's World may prove to be metafiction's first bestseller." -- The Guardian

"Woman's World is an absorbing, unsettling story...an amazing mash-up, a beautifully bizarre accomplishment..." -- Erin Loeb, Bookslut

"Woman's World is charming, chilling, sinister, surreal and utterly unforgettable." -- The Scotsman

"Amazing...It has to be seen to be believed." -- Jezebel.com

"The most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade...This book is a work of genius." -- The Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Certainly not much to discuss if you choose this title as a book club read.
xinzi
With "Woman's World" I have ignited young adults struggling with literacy; they are creating their own literary visions from music and art magazines.
Tracey Carmichael
An intriguing story that kept me delighted turning pages to see what the author's creativity would reveal.
D. Seys

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Gaisford on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The `woman' of the title exists through the cuttings that make up her story: so that in effect, the narrator is created by the text itself. This sounds a bit too clever by half: and it is: but that doesn't stop it being an un - put - down - able read.
Graham Rawle's expert manipulation of cuttings from 1960s womens' magazines presents a deeply compelling psychological portrait. A fascinating insight into the mindset of a `lady' prescribed by the media of the time - promoting obsession with home furnishings, elegant waistlines and a naive notion of romantic love - is juxtaposed with the ever more complex reality of a troubled and restless mind unable to lay ghosts from the past to rest. You're reeled in by a need to determine the `real' voice through the dizzying proliferation of media jargon and retro fashion imagery. As the plot seeps through the cracks between cuttings, the depiction of lonely characters going about their suburban routine existences masterfully undercuts the superficial glossy ideal. Our heroine's clumsy foot tries to boot the gritty banality of her world into a relentlessly romantic vision of glamorous cosmopolitanism. The fit is as ungainly as the dresses she dons. The result is by turns painfully sad, eery and hysterically funny. Latent hysteria sets the pace of this unlikely thriller, where reality and fantasy head for a full - on collision.
Each page is a work of art: incorporating the whimsical phraseology of the time, lacing kitsch inanities with instances of poetic poignancy, punctuating moments of insight with visual cues, the text literally sliding off the page in moments of panic. The modern - day Frankenstein's monster wears `raucous red Boulevard Court shoes'.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tracey Carmichael on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an English teacher in an urban setting, I am always searching for literature that is 'outside the box,' that breaks the rules of stuffy, formulaic writing by writers who have no artistic vision. With "Woman's World" I have ignited young adults struggling with literacy; they are creating their own literary visions from music and art magazines. Is not the purppose of literature to implore the reader to think, to create, to act? Is this not the a similar purpose of an artist? Not only are my students engaging in this artistic journey, but two other teachers are now using it. "Woman's World" is a complelling read, to say the least. Each line, each phrase, each word, draws the reader to think of the process, thus, one is drawn not only into the characters' lives, but one is drawn into the writer's life as well. What a refreshing read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Seys on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This story is well written, fun, creative & clever. The text/picture cutouts sprinkle 1960s language & images into a modern-day tale. An intriguing story that kept me delighted turning pages to see what the author's creativity would reveal. An absolute masterpiece of writing and art combined. Get it - you've not seen anything like it before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Lord on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I was a child I loved to climb into the window seat behind my grandmother's sofa, draw the curtains so I was hidden from anyone who came into the room, and spend hours poring over the stack of 1960s Home Beautiful and Women's Weekly magazines that resided there. The brittle, yellowing pages held such a visual fascination, with their improbable promises of domestic perfection, and this book transported me right back there.
I worried that the cut-and-paste style would prove distracting or that the narrative and the rhythm of the words would suffer from the limitations that Rawle imposed on himself, but I was delighted to find that, despite my reservations, the opposite occurred.
The appearance of the text -- gigantic drop capitals, strange fonts, pictures -- adds to the reading experience, as does the quirky injection of bathos or humour when Rawle quotes directly from ads for soap powder, advice columns, or romance stories.
My advice to you? As Kate Samperi would say, take your time to really taste and savour the exquisite word play and artistic presentation of this graphic novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gillian Daniels on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this book when I heard about Graham Rawle's re-illustrated Wizard of Oz. I couldn't get the technical concept of Woman's World out of my head. How long did it take to clip all those magazines? How did Rawle choose the character names?

Then I read the book and forgot all these questions. Roy and his delusional sister are believable and sympathetic. Eve, Roy's love interest, is kind without having a flat personality.

The detective noir themes could have been pushed a little harder, however. There are plenty of dark twists within the story, but little mystery until the ambiguous ending. It's a fun ride, anyway, with a narrator easily distracted by stains, soaps, modeling, and "women's work."

Perhaps the narrative's biggest triumph is its journey through the facade of popular 1960's femininity. The vibrant and flawed "Norma Fontaine" is the image of womanhood that Roy has found in women's magazines. Like this narrative, Norma is made with scraps and pieces of a commercial, frilly world that doesn't exist. The character is convincing and intriguing, though, just like this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ponyexpress on June 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is totally unique. Written in the style of a ransom note using words and phrases snipped from 1950s women's magazines, every page is a beautiful work of art. It's also a wonderful story: a clever, funny, sad and very moving tale about a 'woman' whose entire life is shaped by the magazine articles she dotes on. The text is surprisingly easy to read and the reading experience offers the added bonus of a visual treat. My favorite book in ages. Buy it!
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