Amin­der Dhali­wal, Drawn and Quar­terly (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $24.95 (256pp) 978-1-77046-335-6

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight | Debut Fiction - MICHELLE ANNE SCHINGLER

It’s the near fu­ture, and the men of the world are go­ing, go­ing, gone. Amin­der Dhali­wal’s Wo­man World, adapted from her se­ri­al­ized we­b­comic, moves quickly from the un­heeded warn­ings of a ge­neti­cist cou­ple who no­tice that men are dis­ap­pear­ing from the gene pool to the world af­ter, where build­ings are crum­bling and the fate of hu­man­ity is un­cer­tain. But it’s not all doom and gloom; left to their own de­vices, women and girls are fi­nally free to just … be.

Pic­ture this: the free­dom to be safely nude in com­pany. Com­mu­nal sym­pa­thy around nat­u­ral bod­ily pro­cesses. Frank, non­threat­en­ing con­ver­sa­tions about sex. There’s an awe­some open­ness to Wo­man World that can­not be de­nied; the tri­umph rep­re­sented by a com­mu­nity flag whose sym­bol is Bey­once’s thighs is pal­pa­ble. Wo­man World is proudly sex-pos­i­tive and Lg­btqaf­firm­ing, di­ver­sity is a mat­ter of course, and the only ab­so­lute di­rec­tive is that you be your­self.

But Dhali­wal is care­ful not to paint a world without men as an in­stant utopia; her use of color alone re­veals that we’re a more vi­brant species when the gang’s all here. The mostly blue, pink, and pur­ple land­scape turns gray scale when the Drs. Shar­mas’ pre­dic­tions come to pass. Color returns in short bursts—when the book de­picts relics from the past; in an in­stance of ex­treme pas­sion; when next gen­er­a­tions learn to let their worry go and em­brace what is.

Be­fore those steps are taken, though, the women of the book bat­tle fa­mil­iar mores. Find­ing hu­man­ity’s new foot­ing re­quires a fem­i­nist re­con­fig­u­ra­tion—an ac­cep­tance of hu­man be­ings as valu­able on their own terms, flaws and all.

Wo­man World is an of­ten rau­cous and al­ways mov­ing project. It func­tions as a gi­ant per­mis­sion slip for ev­ery per­son to live au­then­ti­cally, ex­ter­nal chal­lenges be damned.

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