Book Review: The Benefactor

Sebastian Hampson’s sad sack tale about a former editor of a glamorous magazine who struggles to find meaning after losing his wife constantly teases that something more, or more interesting, is afoot.

The editor in question, Henry Calder, used to run things at a Vogue-like women’s magazine, even though he’s not into fashion and is a male. These facts don’t bother our protagonist as Henry is a narcissistic, shallow and amoral character.

The only thing in his life worth holding on to was his late wife Martha, even though you struggle to understand what this smart and talented woman ever would have seen in her husband.


He loses his job after his wife passes away and spends the days drinking alone in wine bars and talking pretentiously to much younger bar staff while avoiding his friends. In an almost ‘manic pixie dream girl’ situation, Henry befriends the rebellious Maggie, and lets the troubled artist and bar staffer stay at his house as they search for meaning.

Is The Benefactor a critique of generic patriarchal plot devices and idiotic mansplainers? I hope so.

Author: Sebastian Hampson
Publisher: Text Publishing

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.