By Liv Strömquist. Published by Virago / Fantagraphics.
Softcover, 144 pages, B&W and Colour, 2018.
In her best-selling book, internationally acclaimed cartoonist Strömquist riffs on the outrageous history of menstruation and half the population's genitalia.
From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In this graphic nonfiction book, drawn in chunky, punky pen, Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist traces how different cultures and traditions have shaped women's health and beyond. Her biting, informed commentary and ponytailed avatar guides the reader from the darkest chapters of history (a clitoridectomy performed on a five-year-old American child as late as 1948) to the lightest (vulvas used as architectural details as a symbol of protection). Like humorists Julie Doucet (Dirty Plotte), Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For), and Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), she uses the comics medium to reveal uncomfortable truths about how far we haven't come.
"In this lively feminist graphic essay collection, Strömquist embraces an often fraught topic, balancing serious analysis and irreverent, R-rated humor." — Publishers Weekly
"How I loved reading Liv Strömquist's Fruit of Knowledge. If her strips are clever, angry, funny and righteous, they're also informative to an eye-popping degree. Should you be in possession of a teenage daughter, you absolutely must buy it for her and all her friends, in addition to those copies you will now immediately purchase for yourself and all of yours." — The Guardian
"Given the current political climate in the United States, Strömquist's vibrant, excoriating work is more necessary than ever. Fruit of Knowledge is the kind of self-care Western culture needs—accessible, intelligent, and engaging renderings of culture and history—that provide the encouragement to help us finally name and reclaim the female body." — The Establishment
"Strömquist doesn't pull any punches as she covers topics from the horrific to the absurd. Entertaining, educational and essential!" — The Gosh!
"Liv Strömquist is one of those brilliant artists who manages to combine light-hearted rage with biting humour." — Book Riot