by Aminder Dhaliwal
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 11 May 2021 | Archive Date 11 May 2021
Drawn & Quarterly, Drawn and Quarterly
"Dhaliwal created a fictitious community facing xenophobia, fetishization, and media misrepresentation. It's resonating with her thousands of Instagram followers."—Robert Ito, The New York Times
“The characters in Dhaliwal’s stories sparkle. They’re tenderly rendered and their problems are real... The struggle of the cyclops unfolds in metaphors for race, sexuality, gender, and disability, tangling with ideas about fetishization, interracial relationships, passing, and representation.“—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In The Dream House
Following the critical and popular success of Woman World—the hit Instagram comic which appeared on 25 best of the year lists—Aminder Dhaliwal returns with Cyclopedia Exotica. Also serialized on instagram to her 250,000 followers, this graphic novel showcases Dhaliwal’s quick wit and astute socio-cultural criticism.
Doctor’s office waiting rooms, commercials, dog parks, and dating app screenshots capture the experiences and interior lives of the cyclops community; a largely immigrant population displaying physical differences from the majority. Whether they’re artists, parents, or yoga students, the cyclops have it tough: they face microaggressions and overt xenophobia on a daily basis. However, they are bent on finding love, cultivating community, and navigating life alongside the two-eyed majority with patience and the occasional bout of rage.
Cyclopedia Exotica is a triumph of hilarious candor.
"The lives of ten characters in the same city intertwine as each grapples with living in an otherized body. Their physical differences are fetishized, marketed to, discriminated against, and misunderstood, as bodies are in our own world. What to do when people see your single eye but not yourself? Rage about it, laugh about it, make art about it, and work to change the world for the better. Aminder Dhaliwal is such a deft and clever storyteller! This book made me giggle and made me think, and it fueled my own determination to continue pushing for real social change."-Maia Kobabe, author of Gender Queer: A Memoir
"Unflinching satire, eye brow-waggling commentary, and thought-provoking pearls on the topic of those who occupy marginalized identities. I didn’t expect to laugh out loud at a complicated depiction of people at war with themselves and with everyone else, as they try to assimilate (or stand apart). For anyone who has experienced the turbulence and pride of being “othered” in a dominant society, Cyclopedia Exotica will serve you equal parts reassurance and wistful pain."- Hellen Jo, cartoonist, illustrator, and translator of Uncomfortably Happily
Average rating from 12 members
I was so excited to see Aminder Dhaliwal's name pop up here! I didn't keep up with the weekly serialization of this comic, and I sometimes don't love the overall structure of serially-produced works like this, but it was still really charming and brilliant. I felt super invested in these characters and their paths - my only real complaint would be that I don't actually see the need for Author Explanations at the end of the book, as I think they speak for themselves and I'd prefer to leave what's unsaid in the comics a little bit up to the reader's interpretation.
This was such an eye-opening and incredible read. I finished it so quickly that I lost track of time. I cannot wait to use this for my classroom. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I first fell in love with this comic when reading pieces of it on Instagram. Now that I've read it as a whole with new portions added I love it even more! It's a great parallel to real world issues that people face through their lives.
A story of the micro/macroaggressions and everyday prejudice a minority group goes through every day. It doesn't beat the reader over the head to make the reader understand the message. I especially liked the nuance in the story and how the characters were all different but going through the same thing.. I also liked how it shows how time changes context. I liked the author’s character descriptions in the back because it really helped me understand them within the main story. The artwork and coloring were nice
I loved this book. Originally a web comic, Dhaliwal has a cartoonish but realistic drawing style that draws you into the story. She juggles a large cast of characters but finds space to individuate them and draw us into, and make us care about, their stories. The conceit of approaching difference through cyclopean characters is interesting and while none of the story lines is particularly groundbreaking, the examination of careers, families, relationships, and how they are all affected by difference is very entertaining and engaging.