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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Out today: Diane Obomsawin's On Loving Women!

We are thrilled to announce that Diane Obomsawin's latest book, On Loving Women, is out today!

On Loving Women (translated by Helge Dascher) is Obomsawin's second Drawn & Quarterly book. It follows the gloriously minimalist Kaspar (2009), which interpreted the strange life of Kaspar Hauser and was accompanied by a short film of the same name. This time, Obomsawin turns her attention to queer lives and loves: On Loving Women gathers stories of awkward gay crushes, first loves, and queer coming-of-age experiences told to her by her friends.

What do you do when you have a crush on a gymnast? Sign up for gymnastics classes and get her to help you, of course!
The resulting vignettes are funny, bittersweet, and deceptively simple. Obomsawin has a great talent for holding back, or paring down, and this ability makes these personal stories poignant and wise, without ever being saccharine or melodramatic.

Getting dumped; trying to force a feeling
As the stories unfold, themes start to surface. There are illicit convent school experiences, such as in the following excerpt, wherein the Mother Superior's niece reads erotica to the impressionable young students, while the nuns sit oblivious in the neighbouring compartment:


There are obsessive crushes on teachers and older girls. There are first times at queer bars, and cameos by famous lesbian bars of yore, like Montreal's Baby Face:


There is confusion and shame, but also curiosity and excitement around sexual and gender identities - sometimes in the same frame:


There are the outfits that make some of the tellers feel comfortable, or even catapulted into new states of being.
 

Throughout these stories, Obomsawin uses flashes of whimsical brilliance to illustrate the more unnameable elements of love, heartache and belonging. Characters' ears clue us in to their emotions, frying pans literally hit people on the head, and a bar full of lesbians is portrayed as a walking/dancing rosegarden (of sorts):


Obomsawin will launch On Loving Women at the Drawn & Quarterly bookstore on Thursday, February 20, at 7pm! We can't wait to hear more about the making of this book, and the people and stories that are so beautifully portrayed in it! For more details, check out this blog post, or the Facebook event!

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