Portrait of a Body
Portrait of a Body
By Julie Delporte, translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Softcover, 268 pages, Colour, 2024.
A portrait of flourishing desire in a body ever-changing
As she examines her life experience and traumas with great care, Delporte faces the questions about gender and sexuality that both haunt and entice her. Deeply informed by her personal relationships as much as queer art and theory, Portrait of a Body is both a joyous and at times hard meditation on embodiment—a journey to be reunited with the self in an attempt to heal pain and live more authentically.
Delporte’s idyllic colored pencil drawings contrast with the near urgency that structures her confessional memoir. Each page is laden with revelation and enveloped in organic, natural shapes—rocks, flowers, intertwined bodies, women’s hair blowing in the wind—captured with devotion. The vitality of these forms interspersed with Delporte’s flowing handwriting hold space for her vivid and affecting observations.
Skillfully translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle, Portrait of a Body provokes us to remain open to the lessons our bodies have on offer.
“Reading this portrait of a body is like being whispered to all night (by someone you love) while looking at a wonderful procession of images shot fleetingly against a darkened wall. She speaks to the aloneness and the togetherness at once. It's ardently alive.”—Eileen Myles
“Queer liberation comes in many ways, and Julie Delporte delicately writes about the subtleties of this experience, and the process of beginning to accept a body that you once rejected. It is a beautiful, candid book that softly extrapolates how we can begin to love yourselves and others again.”—Fariha Róisín, Who is Wellness For?
"In this incredibly powerful memoir... Delporte explores what it means to be in a queer body in a patriarchal society, the changing nature of desire, embodiment after trauma, and so, so much more."—Andrea Richards, Shondaland
"A beautiful, moving look at coming out later in life, a diary-style graphic memoir about the queer liberation of both the body and mind."—Michelle Hart, Electric Literature
"Bathed in hues of blue and brown, her watercolor images and line-drawn pictures beautifully compliment her journey from yearning girl to a fully realized, content, and life-affirming queer woman."—Bay Area Reporter
"An artistic confessional of identity, sexual deliverance, and self-acceptance."—Kirkus
"Delporte (This Woman’s Work) reckons with sexuality, identity, and belonging in this searching and intimate graphic memoir."—Publishers Weekly
"Dreamy colored pencil illustrations and gently flowing storytelling capture the beauty, trauma, and ultimate tranquility that comes with learning to exist on your own terms."—The Millions