‘Generations’ by Flavia Biondi is a fictional graphic novel about Matteo, a young man who returns to his hometown, hoping to live at his granmother’s place until he figures out what to do next. To his surprise, he finds the house to be full, all three of his estranged father’s sisters live there and not everybody is happy about having another mouth to feed. For Matteo, the stay becomes a lesson in the importance of family and little acts of kindness.

The book reads like a graphic memoir, it is steeped in reality, yet isn’t too mundane for readers. The artwork is engaing and the black and white inks work well for Matteo’s story, adding a slight retro touch to it, even though the plot is set very much in the present; however, Matteo’s hometown seems to exist on its own timeline, which leads him into assuming nobody would be accepting about his sexuality. He isn’t entirely wrong.

I don’t understand why Flavia Biondi refrains from naming the three aunts, they are simply referred to as ‘Aunty A/B/C’, which made it hard to recall who was who. The decision to keep them nameless dehumanises them, even though they are essential to the story. Everybody else gets a monicker, even though they appear a lot lesser than the aunt, each of who has a distinct personality. One of them is old, bitter and perpetually pessimsitic, while another is laidback, hearty and her very personality exudes an open maternal warmth. I can’t tell you who is who, because despite having finished reading the book only minutes ago, it’s difficult to remember the alphabets assigned to them.

As far as the protagonist Matteo is concerned, he makes for an interesting study, a young gay man in his early 20s, who fled home immediately after coming out to his father. It takes him time to reflect on his past decisions and figure out what is best for him. Matteo is definitely not the most likable protagonist, but he is a very realistic representation of young people who tend to live in their own head. The novels could’ve been slightly longer, but ends on a poignant note – there’s both death and renewed life in the climax. Overall, ‘Generations’ makes for a gripping read about reconnecting with your family and becoming empathetic.

It’s a 4/5 from me.