Woman’s World

Graham Rawle, Author
Graham Rawle, Author . Counterpoint $25 (437p) ISBN 978-1-59376-183-7
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-58243-463-6
Paperback - 437 pages - 978-1-84354-368-8
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-84354-367-1
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At heart, Rawle’s overlong fantasia—constructed entirely out of 40,000 text fragments, printed in facsimile, that he cut from 1960s British women’s magazines—is a tribute to the pulp noir spirit. In suburban England circa 1960, 29-year-old Roy Little suffers from a split personality, apparently the result of a mysterious “accident” (or was it?) sustained by his sister in childhood. His other self, “Norma Fontaine,” lives in a dream of “the latest fashions, beauty tips and handy hints for the home,” watched over by an attentive if disapproving housekeeper, Mary. Or could Mary actually be Roy’s mother? We find ourselves rooting for Roy as he applies for a job and meets the attractive, good-humored Eve in a cafe. But “Norma” keeps rearing her unruly head until one afternoon, she dresses herself to the nines and gets picked up by a photographer, Mr. Hands, with deadly results. British collagiste Rawle charms with sheer campy gumption. The text itself, however, looks like a cut-’n’-paste ransom note. It’s fine for a page or two, but becomes wearisome long before the last of the 400-plus pages. (Feb.)

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