Woman’s World as reviewed by Blake Belleman
Literature holds an important place in the art world. We understand that the most eloquent authors are on par with the greatest musicians and painters, given their ability to sway the human spirit. Fortunately, novels such as Woman’s World exist, and we are the better for it.
Graham Rawle’s Woman’s World, published in 2005, includes both written text and 40,000 woman’s magazine clippings from the early 1960s. It is one of the most engaging and fascinating books you may ever read. The author’s words illustrate the aggregated consciousness of the main character, Norma Fontaine, whose world is shaped exclusively through the women’s magazines that she reads. The clippings are extremely interesting and aesthetically pleasing, and the text adds an immersive quality that enriches the novel by accentuating Fontaine’s isolation and difficulty finding acceptance within her community.
Rawle manages to thrive by controlling his medium; providing us with a serpentine plot that beautifully illustrates the surreal psychological “foot race” that some of us have to endure. His material captivates the reader through emotionally rich storytelling, including this excerpt, “In the fading light of the kitchen, I felt pressure building up in the empty cavity behind my face and, despite the disastrous effect I knew it would have on my carefully applied make-up, I found that I, too, was crying. Whoo-hoo.”
Woman’s World is a novel that begins as a curiosity, but transcends into a poignant narrative filled with bewitching imagery. There are few books I would more enthusiastically recommend.