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House of Women

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In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. Something dark is growing in Mopu. The only question is whether the danger that will undo the women’s delicate camaraderie is outside the gates―or within. House of Women is Goldstein’s second sol In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. Something dark is growing in Mopu. The only question is whether the danger that will undo the women’s delicate camaraderie is outside the gates―or within. House of Women is Goldstein’s second solo graphic novel, following 2015’s The Oven (AdHouse Books), which appeared on many year-end “Best of ” lists, including Publisher’s Weekly and Slate.


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In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. Something dark is growing in Mopu. The only question is whether the danger that will undo the women’s delicate camaraderie is outside the gates―or within. House of Women is Goldstein’s second sol In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. Something dark is growing in Mopu. The only question is whether the danger that will undo the women’s delicate camaraderie is outside the gates―or within. House of Women is Goldstein’s second solo graphic novel, following 2015’s The Oven (AdHouse Books), which appeared on many year-end “Best of ” lists, including Publisher’s Weekly and Slate.

30 review for House of Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    The plot of Sophie Goldstein’s House of Women is loosely based on a 1947 film called Black Narcissus, which is about a group of (white, Western) nuns who go to the Himalayas to set up a nunnery, with the help of a single, charismatic (and handsome?) man (also white, Western, who also happens to live there). The film is itself based on the novel of the same name by Rumer Godden. Goldstein adds certain sci-fi/fantasy elements, drawn in a kind of stylized, Aubrey Beardsley fashion, though in black The plot of Sophie Goldstein’s House of Women is loosely based on a 1947 film called Black Narcissus, which is about a group of (white, Western) nuns who go to the Himalayas to set up a nunnery, with the help of a single, charismatic (and handsome?) man (also white, Western, who also happens to live there). The film is itself based on the novel of the same name by Rumer Godden. Goldstein adds certain sci-fi/fantasy elements, drawn in a kind of stylized, Aubrey Beardsley fashion, though in black and white. I happened to have recognized the Black Narcissus connection, and this helped my appreciation of the story. Until I saw it, I was confused, found everything vague, but I am not exactly a fantasy guy, typically, so I wasn’t that drawn in, initially.. Then, there’s this sort of intensity as the women--nuns, after all--interact with each other through this man. I don’t think this is a critique of Catholicism; nor is it particularly feminist. There’s a kind of complicated (and maybe, if you read it as a nun?) bizarre electricity throughout that gets translated as sexual tension in many places. The nuns see the man is sexually involved with the local women, and this has its multiple effects on them. Debates ensue; is the guy "taking advantage of" these women? And then there's this: Hey, we like this guy a lot; why not me, more than one of them seems to ask?! Low on exposition, which might be the reason the GR rating average is extremely low, House of Women is high on tone, atmosphere, mystery. We don’t exactly know why the women come there, but I liked that because it fit with the stylization, with the sort of fantasy elements. I think once you get the idea behind this, all the gender politics, the psychological tensions, it is a pretty good story, more fully realized than her earlier tale, The Oven. Here’s a link to a film trailer I found amusing, though the film is still quite celebrated: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039192/v...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Religious missionaries trying to enforce their societal norms upon cultures not their own is why nobody can have nice things. I didn't love this and I didn't hate it. I liked the illustrations though I wasn't a fan of the antagonist having pointy features while the protagonist was all youthful rounded lines. Even so, there were some lovely moments. Takeaway: Been there, done that, this was middle of the road. In fact, this first page panel pretty much tells the entire story: Also, beware h Religious missionaries trying to enforce their societal norms upon cultures not their own is why nobody can have nice things. I didn't love this and I didn't hate it. I liked the illustrations though I wasn't a fan of the antagonist having pointy features while the protagonist was all youthful rounded lines. Even so, there were some lovely moments. Takeaway: Been there, done that, this was middle of the road. In fact, this first page panel pretty much tells the entire story: Also, beware hot four-eyed menfolk. Dudes are too often terrible people.

  3. 4 out of 5

    jenni

    needed more softcore porn tbh

  4. 4 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    A group of women travel to a defunct station of the Empire to teach young minds on a new planet. Dark and beautiful events ensue. A retelling of Black Narcissus, by Rumer Godden. Overall, this was odd and seemed flat and oversimplified at times, but I couldn't put it down, either. Which made a lot more sense once I found out it was a retelling of a novel from the 1939 novel. It definitely has a 1930s pulp quality to it, and if I think of it in terms of things like "Lost Horizon," it feels of a pi A group of women travel to a defunct station of the Empire to teach young minds on a new planet. Dark and beautiful events ensue. A retelling of Black Narcissus, by Rumer Godden. Overall, this was odd and seemed flat and oversimplified at times, but I couldn't put it down, either. Which made a lot more sense once I found out it was a retelling of a novel from the 1939 novel. It definitely has a 1930s pulp quality to it, and if I think of it in terms of things like "Lost Horizon," it feels of a piece.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ann (Inky Labyrinth)

    I had no idea that Sophie Goldstein’s House of Women was loosely based on a film from 1947 until after I had already devoured the graphic novel. I actually had no idea what it was about at all when I checked it out from the library. My partner saw the shiny cover, with super cool art -- a mischievous-looking lady in a dress with a candle -- and handed it to me without having to say anything. (I have trained him well, it seems, in the art of judging a book by its cover.) It was a truly random fin I had no idea that Sophie Goldstein’s House of Women was loosely based on a film from 1947 until after I had already devoured the graphic novel. I actually had no idea what it was about at all when I checked it out from the library. My partner saw the shiny cover, with super cool art -- a mischievous-looking lady in a dress with a candle -- and handed it to me without having to say anything. (I have trained him well, it seems, in the art of judging a book by its cover.) It was a truly random find, and perhaps that is why I loved it all the more. The 1940’s film “Black Narcissus” (based on a 1939 book of the same name) revolves around five nuns acting as Christian missionaries in the Himalayas. In Goldstein’s world, it is four women, dressed nun-like, traveling to an “uncivilized” planet with the mission of assimilating the native creatures they meet. Without spoiling the plot or twists of this gorgeously crafted graphic novel (I would advise going in “blind” if you still can), shit inevitably goes wrong in this extra-terrestrial mission. It get weird. It get sexy(?), it gets weirder, and it gets gorey. So, I am left questioning those who criticize the “colonization” trope of story...like...YES! That is the point! Did those finish the book, I wonder? We can’t learn something is bad if we don’t talk about it. The views and beliefs of the characters are NOT the same as how the author feels about a topic. The art style alone in this books is reason enough to pick up House of Women is you are a lover of black and white graphic novels in the sci-fi genre. It’s such a beautiful blend of gothic horror and science fiction. My only true complaint is that there is no promise of other stories from "the Empire", or Sarai and her crew. I struggle with stand-alones for one main reason, and this short tale was no exception: I am always left wanting more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nore

    I loved the art, but.... The desires of these women led to their downfall, and the most sexual one is depicted as evil. Okay! Sure.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    A well executed take on the classic civilized missionaries "saving" the savage aliens with some really beautiful art work and a depth of feeling and subtle intelligence that sets it apart from its cheesier, Star Trekish, campy brothers and sisters. A group of "nuns" representing an intergalactic, slightly ominous sounding government that is always looking for new "citizens" arrive on a lush, tropical planet populated by adorable many eyed aliens that are a sort of intelligent insect/dog hybrid an A well executed take on the classic civilized missionaries "saving" the savage aliens with some really beautiful art work and a depth of feeling and subtle intelligence that sets it apart from its cheesier, Star Trekish, campy brothers and sisters. A group of "nuns" representing an intergalactic, slightly ominous sounding government that is always looking for new "citizens" arrive on a lush, tropical planet populated by adorable many eyed aliens that are a sort of intelligent insect/dog hybrid and are possessed of an adorable childish innocence that is very open to the nuns attempts at civilizing them. A local trader who just happens to be a very handsome and seductive man begins to open fissures in the tight knit band of women who find themselves grappling with emotional and physical desires they're unprepared to deal with. Simultaneously it begins to become apparent that no amount of education or instruction in table manners will be able to overcome the true nature of the aliens they believe they're helping. This really was a neat little allegorical fable that was pretty damn gorgeous. I feel like I've been using "art deco" to describe a lot of the graphic novels I've been reading recently but this definitely had that vibe. There's also a distinct European feel to everything, which makes sense since the story obviously hearkens back to the colonial empires that once ran the world. There's a simplicity to Goldstein's style that really works with the story she's telling. There's a ribbon of dark, sexual tension running all through the narrative that you can literally see through her drawing. I liked this a lot. A very quick, dark, creepy and sad read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    This contains some really good drawing and Goldstein is clearly a very talented artist, but I would be lying if I told if you could really understand what was going on. There is clearly some kind of feminist message in here and there is a vague, mystical sci-fi/fantasy background and a very bad man etc, but overall this really wasn’t for me at all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    If Sophie Goldstein's "House of Women" was a pulp science fiction novel in the 1960's and 1970's it would have absolutely become a B-rated or C-rated horror film that aired after 11 pm on your black and white TV. It could also appear in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In terms of plot, I would give the graphic novel a three, but for illustrations it is a solid five stars. Like many, it was the cover and pages that caught my attention, and my interest in science fiction and the potent If Sophie Goldstein's "House of Women" was a pulp science fiction novel in the 1960's and 1970's it would have absolutely become a B-rated or C-rated horror film that aired after 11 pm on your black and white TV. It could also appear in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In terms of plot, I would give the graphic novel a three, but for illustrations it is a solid five stars. Like many, it was the cover and pages that caught my attention, and my interest in science fiction and the potential of psychosexual themes that caused me to give it a shot. It was interesting to see the outcome for the four types of women in literature (for lack of better terms mother, crone, seductress, and heroine). Their fates made sense in certain ways given their portrayal in the history of art and literature, but there could have been a little more to make it creative and out of this world different/unexpected. Also, it is not science fiction that in educating and 'improving' the lives of young girls and women in this world, or another planet, in a patriarchal society holds danger. There is not an universal method to eliminate the tension and empower the women of the world, which can be a positive and a negative. With time, and actual conversation, this will continue to change. (Note: I will reflect on this observation and edit this paragraph at a later time). I know many are not 100% fans of this book, and that is fair. However, I liked it and look forward to more work from Goldstein.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I love to play library mystery date every so often, checking out a book about which I know absolutely nothing beyond the cover image. This one worked out fairly well. A group of female emissaries from a rather puritanical interstellar empire arrive on a new alien world to set up a base to study, educate and integrate the natives. The creator sidesteps most of the historical baggage of colonialism and missionary proselytizing to concentrate on the mounting sexual tensions between two of the women I love to play library mystery date every so often, checking out a book about which I know absolutely nothing beyond the cover image. This one worked out fairly well. A group of female emissaries from a rather puritanical interstellar empire arrive on a new alien world to set up a base to study, educate and integrate the natives. The creator sidesteps most of the historical baggage of colonialism and missionary proselytizing to concentrate on the mounting sexual tensions between two of the women and the only somewhat human male on the planet, a corporate researcher with a more hedonistic approach to life. It's sort of a Betty/Veronica/Reggie love triangle by way of The Beguiled. Things go awry when the native population turns out to be more alien than the team can handle. p.s., After finishing my review, I read the actual book description and was surprised to find this was by the same person who did The Oven. I picked that book up as a library mystery date a couple years ago and was very disappointed. Now that I'm aware, I can see similarities in the two books, but this one works much better for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    An excellent sci-fi riff on "Black Narcissus." Agents of the Empire colonize a remote planet with a mission to "civilize" the indigenous aliens, but of course it is the colonists' lusts and neuroses that truly disrupt things. Goldstein is a witty and subtle image-maker, and she understands that *suggesting* sex and violence is generally much more effective than merely showing it. An excellent sci-fi riff on "Black Narcissus." Agents of the Empire colonize a remote planet with a mission to "civilize" the indigenous aliens, but of course it is the colonists' lusts and neuroses that truly disrupt things. Goldstein is a witty and subtle image-maker, and she understands that *suggesting* sex and violence is generally much more effective than merely showing it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    kinda disturbing.. not for me

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nidofito

    Beautifully published book which I definitely would’ve enjoyed more if I were familiar with it’s inspiration. Still, it packs quite a lot with its apt art-deco like graphics and limited dialogue.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Honestly, I should know better than to attempt anything that self-identifies as a "psychosexual drama." In a far-flung future, a group of nuns serving what seems a pretty Under His Eye Empire like a less-cool and more-puritanical Bene Gesserit arrive on the frontier world of Mopu. Their task, like that of the mysteriously-disappeared previous expedition, is to civilize the natives into good little imperial citizens - an effort complicated by handsome company man Jael Deen, who seems to prefer thi Honestly, I should know better than to attempt anything that self-identifies as a "psychosexual drama." In a far-flung future, a group of nuns serving what seems a pretty Under His Eye Empire like a less-cool and more-puritanical Bene Gesserit arrive on the frontier world of Mopu. Their task, like that of the mysteriously-disappeared previous expedition, is to civilize the natives into good little imperial citizens - an effort complicated by handsome company man Jael Deen, who seems to prefer things sensuous and uncivilized. Isolated and increasingly frustrated by their lack of "progress," the nuns' relationships begin to crumble until one of them spectacularly cracks. So basically: something something sublimated sexual desire mixed with commentary on colonialism something something. If that feels like a tale as old as time, it may be because Sophie Goldstein based her work on Rumer Goldstein's 1939 novel Black Narcissus, notably adapted into a film staring Deborah Kerr in 1947. And by "tale as old as time," I do mean "a group of barely differentiated women fall out over a dude who's just not that into them while attempting to fulfill a xenophobic and exploitative colonialist agenda," which is kind of not what I needed in 2020. That said, it's worth taking a moment to note how visually striking Goldstein's art is. While the characters themselves are rendered deliberately flat, Mopu is lushly and gloriously depicted in a way that's most akin to Aubrey Beardsely in full Salomé mode. It was almost enough pretty to distract me from having to watch a woman stab another woman in the back over a man who could give two shits about it all. I guess I just prefer my space nuns more warrior than worried-he-didn't-call.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    It’s like a wonderful BLACK NARCISSUS-DUNE hybrid. The author manifests tangible dread as the story progresses, as order descends into madness and the lives of the characters are put into danger. The impetus: Is it hubris? Is it naiveté? Is it lust? Whatever the case, this book puts its characters - and the reader - to the test.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Book blurb: In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. I've read a couple of other graphic novels by this author and I really like her art style. This one has lovely, stark, yet compelling black and white art, which wonderfully evokes the right mood for this dark tale. The story is only sci-fi in the sense that it takes place on a different planet with strange Book blurb: In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. I've read a couple of other graphic novels by this author and I really like her art style. This one has lovely, stark, yet compelling black and white art, which wonderfully evokes the right mood for this dark tale. The story is only sci-fi in the sense that it takes place on a different planet with strange flora and fauna. It's really the story of four women who set out to "civilize" a foreign population and end up rather uncivilized themselves. The women are dressed like nuns and there are religious overtones, and I liked that the four women all had different roles and personalities. What I did not appreciate is that the moment a man (with four eyes at that!) enters the scene two of the women seem to lose their minds. That old trope doesn't play well with me. They had work to do. Important work in their own eyes (ha!), and yet things fall apart over a man? Gimme a break! My other complaint is that the story isn't well developed either. What happened to the male expedition? We don't learn much about the "natives" either, though why the male human has four eyes is a a fun twist. It's still an interesting read (not for kids), and the one I've liked best by the author. The physical book itself is a thing of beauty. Lovely dark red covers with black and gold art, and the pages are edged in black. Very cool indeed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Slyth

    I found this very interesting. I'm guessing the emissaries are from Earth; who orbit to different planets. There they set up and get in touch with the "female" species where they will teach them the English language and cultivate them. I guess their mission is to see whether or not they can civilize the members on the planet. If it works, they stay on the assigned planet. If not, they have to move on. There is, of course, tension between the women because of the attraction of Mr. Jael Dean. His I found this very interesting. I'm guessing the emissaries are from Earth; who orbit to different planets. There they set up and get in touch with the "female" species where they will teach them the English language and cultivate them. I guess their mission is to see whether or not they can civilize the members on the planet. If it works, they stay on the assigned planet. If not, they have to move on. There is, of course, tension between the women because of the attraction of Mr. Jael Dean. His is a mutated man who, appears, to show interest in one of the emissaries, Sarai, but only shows affection toward the "females" from this planet. There was limited dialogue with I half enjoyed and half despised. It gave it more of a mystery feel, having me rely more on creating my own opinions to what was happening and sets the mood. House of Women has a limited amount of sexual scenes/images, so I would suggest this for mature audience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Woowott

    The art is all black and white, very bold and stark and gorgeous. With a few lines, Goldstein evokes wonderful mood and emotion. What we have is an science fiction tale of nuns trying to give the natives of a "backward" planet religion and civilization and culture. Each nun has a role and fills a different near archetype. The youngest, prettiest one also has a thing for their imperial male contact of a particular corporation doing things on the planet. So does one of her sisters. And we have the The art is all black and white, very bold and stark and gorgeous. With a few lines, Goldstein evokes wonderful mood and emotion. What we have is an science fiction tale of nuns trying to give the natives of a "backward" planet religion and civilization and culture. Each nun has a role and fills a different near archetype. The youngest, prettiest one also has a thing for their imperial male contact of a particular corporation doing things on the planet. So does one of her sisters. And we have the age-old jealousy women in love conflict, which was my least favorite part of the book. The scientist nun basically ruins everything because of a dude. Over the trope of jealous female. That being said, the rest of the book was interesting and tragic and quite lovely to look at.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    A graphic novel, a psychosexual drama, and a critique of colonialism: these are the main components of Sophie Goldstein's House of Women.  When a group of women land on a planet previously attempted to be colonized, they have their work cut out for them--especially avoiding the planet's heartthrob.  But as their problems surmount as educating the native species becomes more and more difficult, especially as the species goes through a puberty, tensions grow thicker and thicker. What will prevail: A graphic novel, a psychosexual drama, and a critique of colonialism: these are the main components of Sophie Goldstein's House of Women.  When a group of women land on a planet previously attempted to be colonized, they have their work cut out for them--especially avoiding the planet's heartthrob.  But as their problems surmount as educating the native species becomes more and more difficult, especially as the species goes through a puberty, tensions grow thicker and thicker. What will prevail: the scientist, the romance, or the parental love?   This graphic novel also brings up as many questions as it answers.  How would female colonizers attempt to colonize?  What's the reception of these almost puritanical women juxtaposed against science?  Is it possible for those two to coexist in our minds, and how?   The simple beauty of Goldstein's illustrations neatly allows room for us to have these discussions--they allow for internal, mental growth and conversation in the midst of larger, uncomfortable topics.  Overall, I'm not too sure what to make of this book.  It was beautiful and entrancing and I want to know more about this world, but it's dark and sexual and raw and overbearing.  I will say, however, that all I want to do is read more books like this so I can make sense of such complicated topics! Review cross-listed here!

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

    The stark, black and white artwork reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley and the book cover, designed by the author as well, has a very Art Nouveau feel to it, nice work! The story itself was OK but not a knockout. Worth reading for the art if you are a fan of this art period, which I am. PS for some reason the hardcover artwork doesn't match my edition, instead it looks like the Kindle cover. The stark, black and white artwork reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley and the book cover, designed by the author as well, has a very Art Nouveau feel to it, nice work! The story itself was OK but not a knockout. Worth reading for the art if you are a fan of this art period, which I am. PS for some reason the hardcover artwork doesn't match my edition, instead it looks like the Kindle cover.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Compelling story told in deceptively simple style with at least as much implied as said. Unique, intricate art style that expresses much--the story is intriguing (with a few standard tropes but also unique elements) but the art is exceptional. Recommended for teen and adult SF and graphic novel fans, and preteens whose parents/guardians don't freak about nudity and a couple of panels of a sexual nature. Compelling story told in deceptively simple style with at least as much implied as said. Unique, intricate art style that expresses much--the story is intriguing (with a few standard tropes but also unique elements) but the art is exceptional. Recommended for teen and adult SF and graphic novel fans, and preteens whose parents/guardians don't freak about nudity and a couple of panels of a sexual nature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book was making commentary on the nature of jealousy and psychosexuality, but I have no idea exactly what. It is beautiful and uncomfortable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Ellen

    Odd, deceptively simple story. The creepy artwork really gets under your skin.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sam Wescott

    Definitely the strangest book I’ve read in a really long time. I loved the art and the story had a few really interesting storylines about aliens and gender. I thought the jealousy plot was pretty tired, though. And I feel like the villain was kinda Jewish-coded? I didn’t love that. But damn, that was one stylish book. I’m going to be thinking about some of those visuals for a long time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gen Porter

    I really loved the art style of this graphic novel! Quite a quick read. A good story too!

  26. 4 out of 5

    tinaathena

    Moody, sexy and restrained on story. The style in this is really interesting, with some art nouveau and maybe classic euro fairy tale imagery. The lettering leaves a little too be desired, it's not bad but it's just a hair off in the style to me. Fun world Moody, sexy and restrained on story. The style in this is really interesting, with some art nouveau and maybe classic euro fairy tale imagery. The lettering leaves a little too be desired, it's not bad but it's just a hair off in the style to me. Fun world

  27. 4 out of 5

    P.

    Upon reading the first pages I wondered if this was going to be a mostly straight retelling of Black Narcissus in space, but I should not have doubted Sophie Goldstein, who took advantage of the possibilities of the original and the new setting and made them into something intoxicating. Her panels look deceptively simple at first, but they are restrained, elegantly designed as an art deco illustrative panel, and become increasingly phantasmagoric as the story progresses.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex Eveleth

    Definitely a weird read. Beautifully drawn though :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Naomi (3starsandup)

    "Sophie Goldstein is a warm-blooded, female-sexed biped residing in the Northern Hemisphere of a mostly wet planet in a less trafficked quadrant of the Milky Way. Her limited existence is dominated by the production and consumption of printed images on pulped and pressed dead fauna. She enjoys viewing light patterns on screens and daily hibernation periods of eight to ten hours. Her function within her highly sociable and destructive species is yet to be determined." My favourite part of this boo "Sophie Goldstein is a warm-blooded, female-sexed biped residing in the Northern Hemisphere of a mostly wet planet in a less trafficked quadrant of the Milky Way. Her limited existence is dominated by the production and consumption of printed images on pulped and pressed dead fauna. She enjoys viewing light patterns on screens and daily hibernation periods of eight to ten hours. Her function within her highly sociable and destructive species is yet to be determined." My favourite part of this book was the Author's bio (quoted above) and sadly the rest of the book just didn't do it for me. This black and white graphic novel follows a group of women who are on a mission to bring civilisation to the inhabitants of a remote planet called Mopu. Like the graphic style, I found the story very black and white e.g. good and bad, right and wrong and it was all just a bit too simple and predictable and overall very meh. The hardcover is a beautiful edition though!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Goldstein impressed me in 2016 with her short, near-future work The Oven, so I was super excited to read a longer work from her. Thankfully, House of Women didn't disappoint! Before I even get to describing the plot, I must mention the beautiful production value of this book. Fantagraphics has bound this in a nice, naked hardback with black sprayed edges. The pages are nice, thick and obviously high-quality. It's seriously so pretty! As for its literary merits, House of Women follow four women who Goldstein impressed me in 2016 with her short, near-future work The Oven, so I was super excited to read a longer work from her. Thankfully, House of Women didn't disappoint! Before I even get to describing the plot, I must mention the beautiful production value of this book. Fantagraphics has bound this in a nice, naked hardback with black sprayed edges. The pages are nice, thick and obviously high-quality. It's seriously so pretty! As for its literary merits, House of Women follow four women who have been dispatched to a far-off planet where they are tasked with educating the native population in order to make them suitable to be "citizens of the Empire". Over the few months that they are on the planet, a rift begins to separate the four women when a young, handsome delegate (who was already stationed on the planet) becomes more involved in their lives and their objective. The plot in this work is spare - readers are given very little world-building (outside of some little morsels here and there) but Goldstein gives you just enough that you can fill in the blanks yourself. While the colonial themes aren't new, Goldstein still manages to make this an enticing read by including the added tension the group is experiencing due to the male delegate they bring in their fold. The art style is absolutely gorgeous. I read another review that described it as "art deco" and that feels very apt - the stark b&w and geometry at play really give it a historical feel even though this is straight up sci-fi. Goldstein worked the juxstaposition of her art vs the genre to create an aesthetic that's unlike anything I've seen before. (I later found out that this work is actually a retelling of a story from 1939 - the art makes more sense in that context and is a great nod to the original work).

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