Generations, by Flavia Biondi
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
After three years in Milan, Matteo returns home to the provincial country town where he was born and from which he had fled. Coming out as a young gay man in a provincial country town had led to ugly clashes with his conservative father, and the urban metropolis of Milan had been a welcome change from the stifling small town life of his childhood and the anger and bewilderment of some members of his family. But now, Matteo finds himself with little choice but to return home, with no money, no job, and an uncertain future, like so many other young people of his millennial generation. Afraid of encountering his estranged father, he instead takes refuge with his extended family, at a house shared by his grandmother, three aunts, and his very pregnant cousin. As he tries to rebuild his life, reconnecting with the women of his family and old hometown friends, he warily confronts a few truths about the other generations of his family-from their bigotry to their love, and tolerance, and acceptance-and a few truths about himself, including his fears of confrontation and commitment.
I didn’t have any expectations going into this. I read the blurb a while before I read it and decided to add it to my list, then… totally forgot what it was about. I would recommend that you do that as well because the fewer expectations you have of this the more you’ll enjoy it.
Matteo starts off as a lazy mooch blaming his problems on everyone but himself. He initially resents having to live with his family in a small town in Italy, but he is able to appreciate them more as he helps his failing Nan and listens to his family’s stories. This helps him grow as a person and gives a lot of depth to the plot.
His queerness is a big part of the book because the book is about Matteo’s journey. There is a little bit of his romance with a former boyfriend but if you are looking for a super romance driven graphic novel, this won’t do much for you. This is less about romance than it is about family and self-discovery.
It really played my emotions well and I ended up getting really invested in Matteo and his family. I usually don’t get emotional reading books but I was near tears at the end of it. It was just really powerful and Biondi did a good job telling a big story with the limited word count of a graphic novel.
The art itself was really beautiful, though I do wish it was in color instead of black and white. That’s just a personal preference because the lack of color didn’t take away from the beauty of the art. I’m just curious what colors Biondi would have used because I think the use of color to tell stories is interesting. The line art was well done and Biondi used shading to her advantage so that there was depth and texture in each panel.
Biondi did a wonderful job on the art and story of her first English language book and I enjoyed it a lot.
Flavia Biondi is a comic artist, freelance illustrator and a member of the independent comics label Manticora Autoproduzioni. She published graphic novel for Renbooks and Bao Publishing.
Live and work in Bologna.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.