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Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 2:30 PM

Two young brothers and their soft-spoken father survive on the shores of a contaminated lake. Most of the time, they are just trying to grab something to eat, but a mystery keeps them awake: What's the father always writing in his diary? And why didn't he teach them to read? Are they the last ones left alive?

The comic novel Land of the Sons by Italian author Gipi is a sweeping black-and-white narrative that, thanks to its naturalistic concept and thoughtful story, will make you think: Is it worth following a moral compass even in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world?

Gian-Alfonso Pacinotti (1963*) aka GIPI originally worked as an illustrator in advertising, but in 1992, he started publishing short comics in Italian newspapers and magazines. His first comic book, Esterno notte (Out There), was published in 2003, and he followed it up with the comic novel Appunti per una storia di guerra (Notes on a Story of War, 2004). For this universal story of wartime timelessness, he won the Goscinny Prize for Best Screenplay in 2005 and the Fauve d'Or for Best Book at the 2006 Angoulême Comics Festival in France. This was followed by LMVDM's comic memoir La mia vita disegnata male (My Badly Drawn Life, 2008) and the novel Unastoria (One Story, 2013), about a writer's life crisis. He then published the dystopia La terra dei figli (Land of the Sons, 2016). The comic novel about the journey of two brothers across an infested landscape has been translated into twelve languages and won numerous awards, including the Boscarato Prize at the Treviso Comics Festival in Italy, the Utopiales Festival Prize in Nantes, France, and the ACBD Award from the Association of French Comics Critics and Journalists. In 2021, Land of the Sons was made into a film by Claudio Cupellini in a French-Italian co-production.