Lion Forge. 2017. 144p. tr. from Italian by Carla Roncalli di Montorio. ISBN 9781941302507. pap. $14.99. LITERARY
After breaking up with his lover in Milan, Matteo stumbles home to his provincial family unwillingly. He's been estranged from his father since coming out, his beloved grandmother Nan is declining fast, and he gets a checkered reception from the trio of aunts caring for her. Plus, supported financially by his lover for three years, he now lacks skills or experience, floundering at loose ends until pushed into the role of Nan's nurse. Biondi's (La giusta mezura) slice-of-life story develops in microprogressions as Matteo gradually finds reward and pleasure in helping his grandmother. And as he spends time with the family, he realizes that he's been self-centered most of his life. Yet he can change, and joy in belonging can come to him. The black-and-white art uses greyscale with a light touch, conveying subtle emotion through faces, poses, and background cutaways.
VERDICT This perceptive portrait of emotional maturing shows how one's misstep or step forward sets off a resonance throughout the interlocking cultural system that each family creates. Fans of manga by Natsume Ono and Fumi Yoshinaga should like this one.
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