A profound and personal exploration of the intersections of womanhood, femininity, and creativity
This 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.
About the authors
Helge Dascher has for 25 years translated texts with a dynamic relationship to images. A background in art history and literature has grounded her translation of over sixty graphic novels, many by artists who have broadened the medium's storytelling range. Her translations included acclaimed titles such as Julie Delporte's This Woman's Work (co-translated with Aleshia Jensen, Drawn and Quarterly, 2019), Sophie Bédard's Lonely Boys (co-translated with Robin Lang, Pow Pow Press, 2020) and Michel Rabagliati's "Paul" books (Drawn and Quarterly, Conundrum). She also translates exhibitions, digital stories, and films, most recently Theodor Ushev's The Physics of Sorrow (with Karen Houle, NFB, 2019). A Montrealer, she works from French and German to English.
ALESHIA JENSEN is a French-to-English literary translator and former bookseller living in Tio'tia:ke/Montréal. Her translations include Explosions by Mathieu Poulin, a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for Translation; Prague by Maude Veilleux, co-translated with Aimee Wall; as well as numerous graphic novels, including work by Julie Delporte, Catherine Ocelot, Mirion Malle, and Pascal Girard.
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 & Mail Best Books of 2019
Named one of the best books of 2019 by the Seattle Public Library!
"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
"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." - The LA Review of Books
"The book is a fascinating, expansive mediation on gender politics, relationships, and the expectations women face." - The Hollywood Reporter
" 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 ] 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 Woman's Work is a personal and contemplative inquiry into femininity and feminism in the #MeToo era." - CBC Books
"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
"Impressionistic. . . Delporte's chosen medium communicates both vulnerability and a guarded optimism, and her writing is razor-sharp." - Montreal Gazette
"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 India
" 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
"[ 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
"This is a powerful, thought-provoking piece of art." - The Scotland Herald
"Womanhood is an education in grace under pressure in this melancholy meditation on art, femininity, and longing." - Publishers Weekly
"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
"[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
"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