Thanks to Europe Comics and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
I haven’t read a graphic novel for ages, but this sounded intriguing. This modern slice of life story follows Manuel and Mia, a young Italian couple living in Bologna and charts the ups and downs of being in a long-term relationship.
Initially I didn’t completely love the art style, but it grew on me as I progressed through the story. The art fits the dynamic of the story really well and is quietly understated, as the story itself is.
The real strength of this graphic novel is how perfectly it captures the modern millennial experience. We have the impact of the financial crisis, housing and employment insecurity, having to house share even though you’re approaching your thirties and feeling like everyone has their shit together and you don’t. The characters struggle with a lack of direction and no clear path to success. Sound familiar?
The relationships in the story felt modern and credible. Mia and Manuel have been together for eight years and the spark has faded. Mia wants to socialise more; Manuel wants to become a published author. The strains of competing life goals and managing a relationship when things have moved passed that initial excitement and romance are expertly portrayed. I’d challenge anyone in a long-term relationship to say they can’t identify with some of the issues this story explores. The friendship dynamics too, particularly the dynamic between Tito and Mia were also captured well.
This was a quietly profound, and really rather beautiful, insight into the lives of a young millennial couple.