This Woman’s Work is a call: to seeing, writing, illustrating, and reading—to witnessing all kinds of women’s stories.Women's Review of Books
This Woman's Work
This Woman's Work
By Julie Delporte. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
his Woman’s Work is a powerfully raw autobiographical work that asks vital questions about femininity and the assumptions we make about gender. Julie Delporte examines cultural artifacts and sometimes traumatic memories through the lens of the woman she is today—a feminist who understands the reality of the women around her, how experiencing rape culture and sexual abuse is almost synonymous with being a woman, and the struggle of reconciling one’s feminist beliefs with the desire to be loved. She sometimes resents being a woman and would rather be anything but.
Told through beautifully evocative colored pencil drawings and sparse but compelling prose, This Woman’s Work documents Delporte’s memories and cultural consumption through journal-like entries that represent her struggles with femininity and womanhood. She structures these moments in a nonlinear fashion, presenting each one as a snapshot of a place and time—trips abroad, the moment you realize a relationship is over, and a traumatizing childhood event of sexual abuse that haunts her to this day. While This Woman’s Work is deeply personal, it is also a reflection of the conversations that women have with themselves when trying to carve out their feminist identity. Delporte’s search for answers in the turmoil created by gender assumptions is profoundly resonant in the era of #MeToo.
Translated from the French by Helge Dascher and Aleshia Jensen. Dascher has been translating graphic novels from French and German to English for over twenty years. A contributor to Drawn & Quarterly since the early days, her translations include acclaimed titles such as the Aya series by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, Hostage by Guy Delisle, and Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. With a background in art history and history, she also translates books and exhibitions for museums in North America and Europe. She lives in Montreal.
Aleshia Jensen is a French-to-English translator and former bookseller who lives in Montreal. Her translations include the novels Explosions by Mathieu Poulin and Prague by Maude Veilleux, as well as comics by Julie Delporte, Max de Radiguès, Catherine Ocelot and Axelle Lenoir.
Praise for This Woman's Work
Though her subject matter deals largely with complicated questions of love and desire, there is a palpable joy in Delporte’s expressive line work, which takes on a meditative quality as she reflects on both her personal relationships and her relationship to her art.Winnipeg Free Press
This colourful, rich book takes some processing. Read it and return to it, and still it will keep you coming back to experience its beauty, and messages again.The Toronto Star
[This Woman’s Work] speaks aloud Delporte’s taboo personal conflicts: She’s terrified that motherhood would destroy her artistic practice, she wonders if she might be able to outgrow heterosexuality, and she often wishes she weren’t a woman.The Stranger
This is a powerful, thought-provoking piece of art.The Scotland Herald
A skipping and rich meditation on the experience of gender...There is a conversational ease to the narrative method of This Woman’s Work that disarms the reader and leaves them vulnerable to flooring realizations, or even just new questions.LA Review of Books
The book is a fascinating, expansive mediation on gender politics, relationships and the expectations women face...The Hollywood Reporter
Once you catch its rhythm, this is a powerful, thought-provoking piece of art.The Herald
Beautifully sketchy and introspective.The Guardian
In this globe-trotting, impressionistic personal essay, the Montreal cartoonist examines her own received knowledge about how a woman should be, while finding feminist inspiration in the labour of female artists.The Globe and Mail best of 2019
Julie Delporte’s work is raw, and she is still impeccable at laying out an unmappable thought process that feels like a profound journey into the unknown... You’re not going to find a more sublime, more perceptive, or more honest guide to those ideas in comics form than Delporte.The Beat
Womanhood is an education in grace under pressure in this melancholy meditation on art, femininity, and longing.Publishers Weekly
Reading the English translation of Julie Delporte's This Woman's Work makes me wish I could read it again in its original French—not for any imagined flaw in its translators' fluid prose (Helge Dascher and Aleshia Jensen), but the opposite: I would like to understand this intensely personal, affective memoir existing in it original iteration.Pop Matters
[Julie Delporte] works in soft, bright colored pencil, composing more by page than by panel, and each line she sets down feels earned, deliberate, intentional.Paste Magazine
Impressionistic… Delporte’s chosen medium communicates both vulnerability and a guarded optimism, and her writing is razor-sharp.Montreal Gazette
This Woman’s Work is a smart, meditative, and gorgeously illustrated feminist essay... This book will captivate and move you.Lit Hub
This Woman’s Work, by cartoonist Julie Delporte and published by Drawn & Quarterly, seems unassuming at first. It creeps up on you with its wistful tone, delicate colored pencil drawings, and reflections on the limitations of being a woman.Hyperallergic
An indictment of how female artists have often been written out of the history of Western art. It also manages to raise interesting questions, about feminism, gender, sexual abuse and rape culture.Huffington Post, best of 2019
Julie Delporte’s This Woman’s Work is a magical, majestic, masterful work. She executed, articulated, & expressed the inexpressible. An important and gorgeous book I’ll return to for life.Chloe Caldwell, author of Women and I'll Tell You In Person...
Through Julie Delporte’s meditative exploration of her own life as well as other women’s lives—whether it be family members or artist role models—the more I read this book, the more I felt my own history pulsing through me as well. This book is alive.Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else...
In cursive writing and coloured pencil drawings, This Woman's Work is a personal and contemplative inquiry into feminity and feminism in the #MeToo era.CBC Books
Through nonlinear snapshots, Delporte explores art, gender, and ambition, laying bare her own history of trauma and subsequent struggle with her own femininity and identity.BuzzFeed Books
[This Woman’s Work] reaches a piercing intensity as Delporte works through her ideas about women’s art, women’s creative lives, and women’s vulnerability.BookRiot