Beneficio by Michal Kalicki, art by Gawron. I rated it 1 of 5 stars on Goodreads, “did not like it”, and shelved it there as fiction & graphic novel.
Thank you to NetGalley and Europe Comics for the free e-copy for review.
I did not enjoy Beneficio mainly because I was unable to figure out exactly what was going on. The NetGalley description states that the “work seeks evasive answers to the questions we have all asked ourselves about the mysteries of modern life”, but I didn’t get that impression at all. Yes, the protagonist poses a few questions, but she doesn’t propose any sure answers.
I think it’s supposed to be a story about a young woman’s journey through depression to self-understanding, but the young woman seems to spend the entirety of the narrative in a drug-induced fugue state before seeming to disappear and possibly die. Or maybe she just thought herself into enlightenment? By way of a flawed understanding of Carlos Castañeda and his journeys with Peyote? Which the author misspells as “dopophora” williamsii instead of lophophora. Very hard to understand what’s going on.
I think the artwork is meant to tell a parallel tale, but the simple line drawings are so crude, and the muted palette is so blandly monochromatic, that I often had no idea what I was supposed to be seeing. Taken together, the whole graphic novel seemed itself to be a bad trip. Maybe that’s the point of it.
_Beneficio_ wasn’t for me at all, and I really don’t know to what target audience I’d recommend it.
Have any of you read Beneficio? What did you think about it?
Take care, be well, and happy reading!