website statistics Berlin # 1 - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Berlin # 1

Availability: Ready to download

It's difficult to think of a story with a greater sense of elegant, nuanced foreboding than Jason Lutes's Berlin, Book One: City of Stones. Set in the Weimar Republic-era of German history, Lutes's story takes an unimaginably large and historically important time and observes it through the small lives of a band of sympathetic protagonists. The author spends the most time It's difficult to think of a story with a greater sense of elegant, nuanced foreboding than Jason Lutes's Berlin, Book One: City of Stones. Set in the Weimar Republic-era of German history, Lutes's story takes an unimaginably large and historically important time and observes it through the small lives of a band of sympathetic protagonists. The author spends the most time with his main characters, Kurt Severing and Marthe Müller, but the quality of Berlin is such that the reader cares emphatically about the fate of the rest of the cast: the lovelorn dyke art student, the recently separated single mother, even fleeting characters like the street policeman or the overworked newspaper editor. Even so, the shadow of the coming war cautions us not to get too attached to these people. They are imperfect, bickering, and naïve in their ideologies--just like real people. Brutality will soon follow, and the vulnerability of each of the characters haunts the pages. Using the graphic novel form to tackle an issue like the rise of Nazi Germany is fraught with traps, not least of which are comparisons to other works, such as Maus, as well as literary criticism for minimizing such an important topic. Lutes navigates these hazards well, creating sparse black-and-white sketches that often render a mood wordlessly. Whole pages go without text, and it serves the story well. As much can be told by showing a character in a window's evening reflection, eyes inked as darkened sockets, than through retelling details of (now) familiar historical events. The story itself has a rambling and philosophical feel, focused on details that become all the more poignant for their insignificance. One segment--where Lutes shows Marthe's walk onto a newly snow-covered street--tells us everything we need to know about this character, without much actual action occurring. Lutes doesn't use moments of transcendence to make a point or add sentimentality; instead, he firmly grounds us in this time and place. Without knowing more about the next volumes, it's impossible to say whether Lutes will use this attachment against the readers later, knocking down his characters cheaply, allowing the shortcuts demanded by the burden of history. The last pages of this book--with a disappointingly predictable resolution--hinted in that direction, but the overall tone of the book indicates that something much richer and deeper will happen along with the inevitable loss. --Jennifer Buckendorff


Compare

It's difficult to think of a story with a greater sense of elegant, nuanced foreboding than Jason Lutes's Berlin, Book One: City of Stones. Set in the Weimar Republic-era of German history, Lutes's story takes an unimaginably large and historically important time and observes it through the small lives of a band of sympathetic protagonists. The author spends the most time It's difficult to think of a story with a greater sense of elegant, nuanced foreboding than Jason Lutes's Berlin, Book One: City of Stones. Set in the Weimar Republic-era of German history, Lutes's story takes an unimaginably large and historically important time and observes it through the small lives of a band of sympathetic protagonists. The author spends the most time with his main characters, Kurt Severing and Marthe Müller, but the quality of Berlin is such that the reader cares emphatically about the fate of the rest of the cast: the lovelorn dyke art student, the recently separated single mother, even fleeting characters like the street policeman or the overworked newspaper editor. Even so, the shadow of the coming war cautions us not to get too attached to these people. They are imperfect, bickering, and naïve in their ideologies--just like real people. Brutality will soon follow, and the vulnerability of each of the characters haunts the pages. Using the graphic novel form to tackle an issue like the rise of Nazi Germany is fraught with traps, not least of which are comparisons to other works, such as Maus, as well as literary criticism for minimizing such an important topic. Lutes navigates these hazards well, creating sparse black-and-white sketches that often render a mood wordlessly. Whole pages go without text, and it serves the story well. As much can be told by showing a character in a window's evening reflection, eyes inked as darkened sockets, than through retelling details of (now) familiar historical events. The story itself has a rambling and philosophical feel, focused on details that become all the more poignant for their insignificance. One segment--where Lutes shows Marthe's walk onto a newly snow-covered street--tells us everything we need to know about this character, without much actual action occurring. Lutes doesn't use moments of transcendence to make a point or add sentimentality; instead, he firmly grounds us in this time and place. Without knowing more about the next volumes, it's impossible to say whether Lutes will use this attachment against the readers later, knocking down his characters cheaply, allowing the shortcuts demanded by the burden of history. The last pages of this book--with a disappointingly predictable resolution--hinted in that direction, but the overall tone of the book indicates that something much richer and deeper will happen along with the inevitable loss. --Jennifer Buckendorff

30 review for Berlin # 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    I was not looking forward to reading this book. The roots of fascism and Naziism in twentieth century Germany? I feel like I know something about this, and have read my share of Holocaust literature, but I just had read Lutes's first book, Jar of Fools, and this was said to be his masterpiece, this trilogy, and it kind of looks like it is! I liked his first book and most of what I have read from him, but this is a step up to greatness, and it is only the first of the trilogy! The idea of the nov I was not looking forward to reading this book. The roots of fascism and Naziism in twentieth century Germany? I feel like I know something about this, and have read my share of Holocaust literature, but I just had read Lutes's first book, Jar of Fools, and this was said to be his masterpiece, this trilogy, and it kind of looks like it is! I liked his first book and most of what I have read from him, but this is a step up to greatness, and it is only the first of the trilogy! The idea of the novel, named as it is, is to ask certain questions: What would it have been like to be in Berlin, a city only culturally second to Paris, in the twenties? Amazing theater, art, and an explosion of writing. What would it have been like to have such a magical mecca turn so quickly to evil? To suddenly have a view of art dominate the scene that would denounce all other forms of art?! To have at one's fingertips literally thousands of new pages every day of books, criticism, theory, magazines, journals, and newspapers, but if Berlin might be seen as a flowing river, such words were like stones that sank to the bottom of that river, worthless, unheard (and increasingly censored, of course). We see all this cultural moment through the lens of historical fiction, a graphic novel, and specifically, through the experiences of two people who meet on a train on their way in to Berlin: Kurt Severing, a (politically left) journalist, and Marthe Muller, an (apolitical) artist. In volume one, comprising the first 8 chapters/issues, published in 2000, we focus on 1928-29, and indeed, the whole 22 chapter issue series focuses on 1928-1933. We move from month to month, mapping the landscape, as we get a close up fictional look (and see, and hear, in ways history books cannot help us do) of what it might have been like for a range of humane people to be living during this time in this great city. That good things happen by good people in the midst of emerging fascism (and so so much worse, of course) also gets acknowledged here. Berlin: City of Stones begins with Marthe Müller, an art student, arriving in Berlin. She meets and develops a relationship with journalist Kurt Severing. A second storyline describes a working-class family which breaks up due to differing political views, including the mother, Gudrun, who joins the communists with her daughters Elga and Silvia, while the father takes his son Heinz to the Nazis. The book ends at the massacre of 1 May 1929, the International Workers Day (known in German as Blutmai). To my mind, this great novel can be put on the shelf proudly next to Maus and other great graphic novels, ones with historic scope and the intimacy of individual actors experiencing the shock and despair of their country turning to fascism, to Hitler. I reviewed the second volume as well, and like many people, I await the third volume. So far, as of today, July 20, 2017, the 20th issue has come out. A (maybe) eighteen year journey! But a life work, clearly, and worth the wait.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

    Berlinerluft is the special air of Berlin, like a magic atmosphere. Or love or being drunk or high. Staying up all night and feeling like you didn't waste a moment and the day ahead of you isn't seen through raccoon eyes that want to scurry inside the nearest trash bin tingles up your spine. If Los Angeles smog turns people in Tom Hanks and they go diving into volcanoes what happens to Berliners? They walk into fog and come out in love? They make the best David Bowie albums and are as supremely Berlinerluft is the special air of Berlin, like a magic atmosphere. Or love or being drunk or high. Staying up all night and feeling like you didn't waste a moment and the day ahead of you isn't seen through raccoon eyes that want to scurry inside the nearest trash bin tingles up your spine. If Los Angeles smog turns people in Tom Hanks and they go diving into volcanoes what happens to Berliners? They walk into fog and come out in love? They make the best David Bowie albums and are as supremely awesome as Chris Corner is? I'll find out in November! In the meantime, I've smelled my Berlin: City of Stones and Berlin: City of Smoke for a taste of this magicness. "One thing I love about this city is the way all of our different worlds rub shoulders every day." Running your hands on the handrails and fence posts and walls as you go along city life. The way that one touches and doesn't think about touching because it is taken for granted. Catching a glimpse of someone in a bus window and thinking a bit longer about what that expression could have meant. (I think a lot about what kids think of me when stopped by a school bus in traffic. I remember wishing I was in those cars when I was the kid on the school bus. Does anyone wish they were me?) Berlin before the Nazis. Colors like red and divisions like a Risk board game. Is it so black and white? Who is on whose side? Shoulders won't touch that way again. The fences will be graffitied of terror and the handrails will be guardrails. What if the touching becomes a habit like a nervous tic? A comforting motion when you don't know what to do with your hands (it's the hardest to know what to do with one's hands). That's what Jason Lute's comics are. The faces I would reach out to touch in the crowd when I didn't know where else to put my hands and eyes (I have a similar problem with those). I found myself remembering a face in one of the panels. How one communist was poised to feel proud from his bootstraps up to say he was a red. Sylvia the daughter of the communist mother. She runs a lot. From herself, from those she is afraid of, runs to escape fate. The young Jewish boy David who shares my fascination with Houdini (I check my mail box every day for Lutes's Houdini in Handcuffs. I loved Berlin many times more when I spied the Houdini poster on David's wall). Part one came out in 2000 and part two came out in 2008. I do not know when the third and final volume will be released. It has to end a certain way, right? But where will it touch on those contained walls? Who will haunt me the most? The art student or the journalist or the visiting jazz band from America? (I kinda love a whole lot the homeless Jewish man, Paval.) Lutes is really good. The expressions in panels and the word bubbles are exactly what it feels like to stand alone in a crowd. (I love to stare at expressions and wait for some idea of what they might be feeling come over me.) I don't know what to do with my hands and eyes. I don't know what it is that I smell. It's not death or inevitability. It's the kind of watching you don't live in but are helpless to stop. Did Berlinerluft ever save anyone? Maybe it's like waking up to smell something delicious. Pancakes don't always smell as good as they did that one morning years ago... Maybe you get up in the morning hoping to smell it again, like a drug addict chasing that first time high.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Seth T.

    Every now and again, a comic comes out that assures me that the medium can tell certain kinds of stories in a way that no other medium can touch. Every now and again, a comic comes out that despite its natural humility asserts itself as a model to which the medium should aspire. Every now and again, a comic comes out that just flat-out knocks me off my feet and makes me think that everything is going to be alright after all. That comic this time round is Jason Lutes' Berlin: City of Stones. It's n Every now and again, a comic comes out that assures me that the medium can tell certain kinds of stories in a way that no other medium can touch. Every now and again, a comic comes out that despite its natural humility asserts itself as a model to which the medium should aspire. Every now and again, a comic comes out that just flat-out knocks me off my feet and makes me think that everything is going to be alright after all. That comic this time round is Jason Lutes' Berlin: City of Stones. It's not that Berlin presents such a rosie vista of the panoply of human history. It doesn't. It's not that Berlin offers a solution to the din of political strife that will always wrack the tired bones of human society. It doesn't. And it's not even that Berlin allows true love to conquer even the dankest moments of our human despair. It can't. What Lutes' book does, however, is demonstrate that creative geniuses still stalk the earth. The great classical composers are dead and gone. The sculptors who decorated the world with marble and jade are survived only by their stones. The giants of the jazz era have passed into mere memory. Bach. Beethoven. Mozart. Michelangelo. Bernini. Rodin. Satch. Bird. Trane. And Jason Lutes. Among the geniuses of the comic form (Ware, Smith, Eisner, Hernandez, etc.), Lutes is in the top tier. His work is careful, planned, and makes use of so many narrative tricks that they cease to be tricks and exist merely as natural part of his extensive visual vocabulary. Recently having taught an introduction to comics creation, I had a hard time not using Lutes' work in every example I had prepared to illustrate technique. There is so much story built into every page that his works are the kinds that continue unfolding upon subsequent readings. With the recent release of the second book of the trilogy, Berlin: City of Smoke , I thought it'd be best to reread City of Stones so I could jump right into its sequel. This was my third complete read of the book and fresh narrative details continued to make themselves known. With the story and plot developments more or less solid in mind, I was able to pay closer attention to some of the methodology behind Lutes' work here, taking special care to follow his panel transitions and the way he allows the story to flit from character to character. This is all the product of a special kind of genius. For those unaware, Berlin follows numerous characters through the end of the Twenties and the start of the Thirties in Wiemar's Germany. The economy is a disaster. The government is breaking the terms of armistice. Political turmoil grips the city as communists and fascists fight to save their country from its fate. And of course, there are the Jews, living under the quiet threat of a future none could predict. Yet despite it all, Berlin is still trying to be a Great City. There is still wealth and privilege (even while the workers begin falling to poverty and starvation) and the veiled acceptance of the libertines. And the press is still free. Somewhat. Berlin follows a Marxist journalist, a country-mouse art student, a nightclub singer, a family divided over politics, a Jewish tramp, the boy with whom he trades goods, a lesbian, a socialite, a policeman, and a handful of political radicals (both communist and fascist). Its weavings can chart a difficult path to traverse, but the work pays well and is worth every moment of inspection. My only complaint is now that I have finished Volume II, I've got a good half-decade's wait to see Lutes' conclusion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    Not a great read for me personally: I am already familiar with the history covered in the book, and was not particularly engaged by any of the characters/subplots. But it was well done insofar as it went, and if you want an easy intro to the political issues and social milieu of Weimar-era Berlin, this would certainly be a painless way of learning. Not a great read for me personally: I am already familiar with the history covered in the book, and was not particularly engaged by any of the characters/subplots. But it was well done insofar as it went, and if you want an easy intro to the political issues and social milieu of Weimar-era Berlin, this would certainly be a painless way of learning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Lutes has vividly captured Weimar Republic Berlin in this ambitious historical graphic novel. It's impossible to read it and not have a heightened sense of the cultural, political, and economic forces clashing within the city. Some of the characters struggle to find enough to eat while some ponder how unimaginable it would be to work; some are gradually drawn into politics while others attempt to stay out of the fray. Lutes succeeds at creating this swirling, animated Berlin, where characters' l Lutes has vividly captured Weimar Republic Berlin in this ambitious historical graphic novel. It's impossible to read it and not have a heightened sense of the cultural, political, and economic forces clashing within the city. Some of the characters struggle to find enough to eat while some ponder how unimaginable it would be to work; some are gradually drawn into politics while others attempt to stay out of the fray. Lutes succeeds at creating this swirling, animated Berlin, where characters' lives constantly intersect. Unfortunately, this sense of busy-ness is also the downfall of Berlin; there are simply too many characters here. Lutes doesn't draw them differently enough to make it clear who's who, exactly, and some of the narrative threads don't get fleshed out as much as they could. Characters appear without a firm explanation of who they are. Elaborate backstories are sometimes given, but they don't seem relevant to the story at hand. This could turn out to be a great trilogy, but everything is going to need to be wrapped up a little tighter if it is. Strangely, one final complaint I had about the novel was that it just doesn't feel very German. The attitudes and turns of phrase are often not just American, they're the American slang of decades later. The clothing and the political milieu may be 1929, but the dialogue is more 1999.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    This book starts the series Lutes has devoted years to creating, the story of Germany between the wars. The story follows the lives of several people, a journalist riling against the rise of fascism, a young art student conflicted with her feelings of love for other women, a married woman who is thrown out of her family by her husband for her leanings toward communism, as well as others. The story shows rallies for various political parties as well as peoples' feelings for Hindenburg and of cour This book starts the series Lutes has devoted years to creating, the story of Germany between the wars. The story follows the lives of several people, a journalist riling against the rise of fascism, a young art student conflicted with her feelings of love for other women, a married woman who is thrown out of her family by her husband for her leanings toward communism, as well as others. The story shows rallies for various political parties as well as peoples' feelings for Hindenburg and of course the first showings of the fledgling Nazi party. The drawings are beautiful with Lutes adopting Herge's line and crafting detailed panoramic views of the city as well as amazing crowd scenes and convincing period detail. There isn't a plot to the book, just a meandering toward the inevitable start of WW2. My only criticism is that it's boring. I'm sorry if that sounds like a shallow dismissal but there's no getting around the fact that nothing much happens in the book. Mostly all you see in this book are the poverty, the disabled soldiers begging on the streets, money slowly becoming worthless. I was hoping Lutes would do something different given the material, take a different angle perhaps, but he's just retold what happened. I've studied this period of history both at A-level and university level and I'm well aware of what went on. As a comic book series it's very dry and unfortunately Lutes cannot bring out the drama of the situation to make a gripping read. Mostly it's as dull as a history lesson populated with unconvincing characters. I wanted to like it but couldn't get into it. I struggled to get to the end and won't be looking at the next in the series. There are better comics out there.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    I’ve always had an interest in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, maybe aided by the fact that so much has been written about it, and that Berlin then, much like Paris, was a city when everything was possible in the arts and culture and for people seeking alternative lifestyles. But it was also a place where disaster was brewing and when a person like me, who lost family members in the ensuing catastrophe, likes to imagine that perhaps things might have taken a different course. In the first par I’ve always had an interest in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, maybe aided by the fact that so much has been written about it, and that Berlin then, much like Paris, was a city when everything was possible in the arts and culture and for people seeking alternative lifestyles. But it was also a place where disaster was brewing and when a person like me, who lost family members in the ensuing catastrophe, likes to imagine that perhaps things might have taken a different course. In the first part of what is a trilogy of graphic novels, Jason Lutes presents Berlin through various ordinary people. In the very first frames, on a train inbound for the city, there is Marthe Müller, an artist who is just arriving from another town to make a new life for herself and to study art. She and journalist Kurt Severing make an acquaintance in the train car and establish a friendly rapport that will carry throughout this first part at least. There is a young Jewish newspaper seller bullied by anti Semitic youth and when at home, is expected to carry on the traditions of his ancestors. There is a mother of three who must leave her husband and small son behind—he espouses the National Socialist cause and expects his son to follow in his steps, while she is sympathetic to the Communist cause and their emphasis on helping workers like herself not only find employment, but also decent living conditions and food for her two young daughters... Nicely drawn and with plenty of other characters who come and go so that it takes a while to grasp the narrative and not just see it as a series of vignettes. Ultimately though, as the title indicates, the city itself is the main protagonist of this series. The book is divided into eight sections. It was originally serialized in a comic book by the same name (Berlin). The third part of the trilogy was released very recently in the Fall of 2018 which allows me to complete the work within a reasonable amount of time, unlike most fans, who had to wait for nearly two decades between the first and last part of the trilogy! This volume ends on a rather sad and dramatic note, so it’s probably a good idea to have the second volume, Berlin; City of Smoke on standby. In any case I’m glad I made that provision and will hop right into the next episode right now! :-)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    .??? 200os: the weimar republic in the roaring 20s- first volume in the best graphic series i have read. i have just reread this, rare to do so with graphics, but worth it. my knowledge of history of that time is primarily through narrative works like this, not studying, finding a sense of the times through historical fiction- movies, books, now graphics- that helps make something like sense of horror of the rise of hitler, the horror of antisemitism then, the horror of its use as a political for .??? 200os: the weimar republic in the roaring 20s- first volume in the best graphic series i have read. i have just reread this, rare to do so with graphics, but worth it. my knowledge of history of that time is primarily through narrative works like this, not studying, finding a sense of the times through historical fiction- movies, books, now graphics- that helps make something like sense of horror of the rise of hitler, the horror of antisemitism then, the horror of its use as a political force, in the insidious extremism of fascism, in the hope and naïveté of the common people... i believe that the best artistic projects are those that find expression in exactly the right medium. i am told the true media comparison or understanding is not between written books versus graphic books, but between movies versus graphics, and that certainly seems to be the case here. lutes uses cinematic grammar, telling the story in images that allow close-ups and panoramas, silence and implied movement, follows visual edits years apart, uses multiple identifiable characters, swinging from global to personal in a few cuts. this is the best work in simple, correct, easily read images, only in total emotional effect/affect recalling german expressionist movies of this time... this is only the first of three volumes. ends on a cliffhanger that i easily solve because i have book 2- but then i know he has not published 3 yet...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mateen Mahboubi

    The Weimar Republic is one of the more fascinating periods of modern history to me. Only existing for what seems like a flash in the pan in the grand scheme of history (1918-1933), the impacts of this period can’t be underestimated. Like another favourite, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Lutes’ Berlin focuses on the lives of a variety of residents of the capital city with the backdrop of the surrounding political tension and upheaval. This volume definitely doesn’t shy away from the political with many o The Weimar Republic is one of the more fascinating periods of modern history to me. Only existing for what seems like a flash in the pan in the grand scheme of history (1918-1933), the impacts of this period can’t be underestimated. Like another favourite, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Lutes’ Berlin focuses on the lives of a variety of residents of the capital city with the backdrop of the surrounding political tension and upheaval. This volume definitely doesn’t shy away from the political with many of the characters being communist. Very interested to read the next two volumes as this one was fantastic. Never rushed, Lutes gives us a glimpse into the lives of these characters, never shying away from the intimate or mundane to make sure that we get the whole picture.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dani Shuping

    The first thing that I noticed about this novel was the artwork. I like the simple clean cut lines that give us such depth and emotion to the characters and the worlds around them. Jason captures the gritty city life well in decaying buildings, the rooftops where the art students hang out, and the traffic circles. The one thing that did trouble me was that some of the faces were...manish in appearance. I had to look at the clothing and the hair style to see if it was a male or female character ( The first thing that I noticed about this novel was the artwork. I like the simple clean cut lines that give us such depth and emotion to the characters and the worlds around them. Jason captures the gritty city life well in decaying buildings, the rooftops where the art students hang out, and the traffic circles. The one thing that did trouble me was that some of the faces were...manish in appearance. I had to look at the clothing and the hair style to see if it was a male or female character (and sometime that wasn't successful.) As for the story Jason tries to tell the reader what happened in the 1920's in Germany. He tells us this story by following two main characters a journalist, Kurt Severing, and a younger art student Marthe Muller. He weaves between the past, during World War I, and the present, 10 years later, to show us how life has changed and the difficulties that the people of Germany face. And he does an excellent job of showing this slice of life. But...the stories aren't captivating. And the moments highlighted, while interesting, don't make the history come alive. I also found the weaving between the past and present confusing as there were some places where it was difficult to tell where and when we were. It's an interesting story, but it's not something that's a favorite for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    What a disappointment! I have read three other graphic novels and to my surprise liked them very much so I was looking forward to this one. It also deals with a period that I am interested in - Germany between 1918 and 1932. I found the characters hard to differentiate and hence the story faltered and did not make sense. It also seemed to treat this complex difficult time rather simplistically. I am glad this was not my first graphic novel or I would have just written off the whole genre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    Some beautiful art, particularly some lovely wordless spreads. But the dialogue isn't great, and the drawings of people are (a) not great, and (b) somewhat too interchangeable. Some beautiful art, particularly some lovely wordless spreads. But the dialogue isn't great, and the drawings of people are (a) not great, and (b) somewhat too interchangeable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Tongue

    Others have remarked upon how Lutes uses small, human stories to paint a picture of the final days of the Weimar Republic, and their thoughts on that matter are much more interesting than mine. I found myself, on the other hand, fascinated by the way Lutes shows tragedy and melancholy via distance - distance across time, space, emotional availability, and even ideology. He thematically grounds this by having one of the central characters, Marthe, enroll in art school. Marthe explicitly learns ab Others have remarked upon how Lutes uses small, human stories to paint a picture of the final days of the Weimar Republic, and their thoughts on that matter are much more interesting than mine. I found myself, on the other hand, fascinated by the way Lutes shows tragedy and melancholy via distance - distance across time, space, emotional availability, and even ideology. He thematically grounds this by having one of the central characters, Marthe, enroll in art school. Marthe explicitly learns about space and perspective, and her experience is punctuated by the perception of distance: her age gap (she's 29), her friend Anna's unrequited love towards her, and the otherness of the woman model who moonlights as a cabaret performer. Ideological distance surfaces constantly like a slightly submerged rock formation pummeled by waves; the tension between the Nazis and the Communists drives the entire plot of the book. And the tension has real, human, bodied effects, tearing apart families, separating them at first by ideology, then by actual space. The idea of the missed connection is closely tied to time. As a character in Wong Kar Wai's 2046 says, "Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late. If I'd lived in another time or place... my story might have had a very different ending." If Braun had met her comrade friend before getting married, perhaps... Whenever one encounters a work that's set in the past and structured around an earth-shattering event, there's a certain sadness that permeates the work regardless of its actual tone. Lutes even shows this in reverse with the flashbacks to WWI and the days immediately after. Every few pages, Lutes makes the reader know what date it is, letting the days march by ever closer towards the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of the Third Reich. The melancholy lies in the realization that so many of these characters' lives will either be ruined or annihilated- and some of them will DO the destruction. Each page brings us closer to the end. And the ending shows the tragedy of distance; separation is only sad because we long for re-connection, for reconciliation, for one last embrace by the estranged. Eventually, there comes a point of no return, and the distance remains permanent.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Willie Krischke

    Now this is a proper graphic novel. I am deeply impressed with the way Lutes uses the form to convey a mood, a sense that exists around and between the characters and the details of their lives; very few novels (of any sort) manage to convey the mood of a particular time and place so effectively. I really felt the sense of Berlin torn between two beasts, Communism and Nazism, the seductive appeal of both, and people in the middle - intellectuals, artists, and veterans who know better - desperate Now this is a proper graphic novel. I am deeply impressed with the way Lutes uses the form to convey a mood, a sense that exists around and between the characters and the details of their lives; very few novels (of any sort) manage to convey the mood of a particular time and place so effectively. I really felt the sense of Berlin torn between two beasts, Communism and Nazism, the seductive appeal of both, and people in the middle - intellectuals, artists, and veterans who know better - desperate to do something, but not able to find any good thing to do. It's far more common, and easier, I think, to tell stories about characters, problems, and things that they do; accomplishing what Lutes does here - delivering a work about the milieu of a particular time and place, more about atmosphere and emotion, is much more difficult, and it's amazing how powerfully he accomplishes it. This is a work of art.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    14th book for 2017. If I didn't live in Berlin and find the inter-war period in Berlin particularly interesting I would probably not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. The drawings of the Berlin landscape were good, but the images of the characters were less so. Many felt cliched and too similarly drawn to be told apart. This was perhaps made worse by the German edition I read, where the images are printed too small, making it almost impossible to read some of the finer text boxes. I don't t 14th book for 2017. If I didn't live in Berlin and find the inter-war period in Berlin particularly interesting I would probably not have enjoyed this book as much as I did. The drawings of the Berlin landscape were good, but the images of the characters were less so. Many felt cliched and too similarly drawn to be told apart. This was perhaps made worse by the German edition I read, where the images are printed too small, making it almost impossible to read some of the finer text boxes. I don't think this book works well as a standalone piece, and so it's a particular shame that the third book in the trilogy seems to still be some way from completion. Hopefully, there will be some closure in the next few years.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ambar Sahil Chatterjee

    ‘... in the end, I can call no other place my home.’ 📚 Set in the late 1920s, “Berlin: City of Stones” explores the twilight years of the Weimar Republic, when the mood in the city was turning from deep despair in the wake of Germany’s crushing defeat in WW1 to the rancour and fear that paved the way for the rise of Nazism. ✨ Elegant and eloquent, the slow-burn charm of this skilfully rendered graphic novel lies in its apparent simplicity, its clean lines and refreshingly restrained artwork, gently ‘... in the end, I can call no other place my home.’ 📚 Set in the late 1920s, “Berlin: City of Stones” explores the twilight years of the Weimar Republic, when the mood in the city was turning from deep despair in the wake of Germany’s crushing defeat in WW1 to the rancour and fear that paved the way for the rise of Nazism. ✨ Elegant and eloquent, the slow-burn charm of this skilfully rendered graphic novel lies in its apparent simplicity, its clean lines and refreshingly restrained artwork, gently pulling you into the lives and loves of a dynamic host of characters: journalists and artists, Jews and Gentiles, socialists and fascists. ☀️ The first in a trilogy of graphic novels about a crucial period in Berlin’s cultural past, this book compellingly evokes not only the intellectual ferment and ideological crisis sweeping through the city but also the personal dilemmas, hopes and fears of the people caught up in the relentless march of history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tanvir Muntasim

    An extremely underrated Graphic novel, set in the critical time in Berlin when fascism and communism were going head to head. A wonderfully evocative literary story depicting the lives of the common people and how they are affected in the watershed moments.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Compelling. A finely tuned exploration of the origins of the Third Reich and the pressure-cooker called Berlin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    2.5/5 Was interesting to learn, high level, about the German state of affairs from 1928-1929. Will definitely check out Vol. 2, which is the continuation.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna Bunce

    If you could read a movie this is what it would be like. Can't wait for book 2 and 3! If you could read a movie this is what it would be like. Can't wait for book 2 and 3!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Wow, as brilliant and interesting as expected.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Danny

    I was close to giving this 4 stars but it progressively got more engaging as it went on. This builds to a sensational and brutal ending and I cannot wait to read the rest. I think I first bought this in 2015 and I'm pretty sure I didnt give it as much of a genuine chance as I am now. Today I see the rich tapestry of interwoven lives in Berlin from 28-29 which concludes on mayday 1929. I really felt for these characters and that's the brilliance of the book it is a historical fiction but also use I was close to giving this 4 stars but it progressively got more engaging as it went on. This builds to a sensational and brutal ending and I cannot wait to read the rest. I think I first bought this in 2015 and I'm pretty sure I didnt give it as much of a genuine chance as I am now. Today I see the rich tapestry of interwoven lives in Berlin from 28-29 which concludes on mayday 1929. I really felt for these characters and that's the brilliance of the book it is a historical fiction but also uses it as a canvass for slice of life; creating something sublime. I cannot wait to see where these characters end up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Story of various characters meeting & not meeting in late 1920s Berlin. Main characters are queer bohemian artists, communist workers, & leftist journalists. Also many vignettes featuring the daily internal lives of various minor characters (cops, prostitutes, nazi street thugs, bums, etc), some of whom appear later, and many of whom do not. Features many streetscapes.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paula Lyle

    The pictures are beautiful. The story is not. Interesting history of Germany between the wars. So much pain and hunger and struggle to survive. Divisions between people become wider and deeper and more personal. History certainly repeats itself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ollie

    Let me start this review exactly as I started my review of Lutes' Jar of Fools. Ahem. "Honestly, I don't know what all the hoopla is with Jason Lutes' Berlin, because Jar of Fools is where it's at." Not that Berlin is a terrible book by any means, it's just boring and uneventful most of the time. While this is just the beginning of what will be Lutes' trilogy on the Weimar republic and Germany in between wars, Book 1: City of Stones can be quite a frustrating read. It's essentially a mishmash of Let me start this review exactly as I started my review of Lutes' Jar of Fools. Ahem. "Honestly, I don't know what all the hoopla is with Jason Lutes' Berlin, because Jar of Fools is where it's at." Not that Berlin is a terrible book by any means, it's just boring and uneventful most of the time. While this is just the beginning of what will be Lutes' trilogy on the Weimar republic and Germany in between wars, Book 1: City of Stones can be quite a frustrating read. It's essentially a mishmash of different people in Berlin in the 20s interacting and talking. A knowledge of the Weimar republic would be helpful to understand the context of these characters' lives, which Lutes doesn't provide (an introductory page would have been nice). Instead we get extensive dialogue with so many different characters that honestly look so similar that it's hard to tell who is who. So that right there is confusing. In addition, the dialogue is often depicted as cockney English for these Germans, which is strange enough, but the occasional addition of the word "Fraulein" (because they're speaking German for one word, get it?!) is just distracting and takes us out of the story. Towards the very end of the book things come to a head, and yes, we can see that all these peoples' lives will be forced to clash or coincide with one another. Communists vs fascists vs jews vs bourgeoisie. But first you have to try and not fall asleep. The good news however, is that all this setup pays off in the next volume when things get heated and the sense of impending danger is a little more obvious to everyone. In addition, this is probably one of the cleanest and most cinematic artwork I've ever seen. We truly feel like we're reading some European comic from decades past (like Tin Tin). So the artwork is all right there to be studied and enjoyed. So yes, unfortunately, City of Stones doesn't do any favors to a book that shows lots of potential in the next volume City of Smoke. Let this be a clue to Drawn and Quarterly that Berlin, when finished, must be published in one complete volume, because it would take immense determination and loyalty to want to continue with this book after this volume.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    this was a great way to spend an afternoon. lutes' berlin: city of stones is an atmospheric panorama of weimar germany and its uncertain inhabitants. there are a lot of characters to keep track of for such a short graphic novel, and i'm glad that there are two more installments in my future (eventually... only one is published at the moment from what i gather) through which he might flesh all of them out. instead of sadistic nationalists and communist zealots, lutes establishes a world of troubl this was a great way to spend an afternoon. lutes' berlin: city of stones is an atmospheric panorama of weimar germany and its uncertain inhabitants. there are a lot of characters to keep track of for such a short graphic novel, and i'm glad that there are two more installments in my future (eventually... only one is published at the moment from what i gather) through which he might flesh all of them out. instead of sadistic nationalists and communist zealots, lutes establishes a world of troubled, curious and often quiet figures. this overlaps nicely with his poetic artwork, which zooms in and out of the various narratives with grace and eloquence. the stories - brief though they may be - feel natural and unhurried. the calmness in tone contrasts with the turmoil of the time period, which makes for engaging reading. lutes also has a knack for conveying real emotions through sparsely drawn faces, most notably between the wife of the nationalist/nazi and the well-meaning communist who takes an interest in her. on the other hand, the story-telling is occasionally confusing, and stylistic approaches shift a bit too readily. but hopefully the stylistic structure will come into focus in future installments. i wish this comic were longer - i didn't want it to end. *semi-related*... i'm beginning to realize that there's a world of comics that aren't A: about superheroes or B: about how melancholic and poetic it is to live in the suburbs. joe sacco's footnotes in gaza might be my next foray along such lines... if anyone has recommendations, i'd love to hear them!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    From the description I was thinking this would be more Isherwood less Germany Civil War with fascism vs. communism. But that's what the library is for, to prove to me I don't need to buy graphic novels before taking them for a test run first! The characters are all loosely connected and are hard to tell apart because the drawing style has everyone looking almost the same, sometimes it's hard to even distinguish between male and female. Only towards the end, which I might add is an abrupt cliffha From the description I was thinking this would be more Isherwood less Germany Civil War with fascism vs. communism. But that's what the library is for, to prove to me I don't need to buy graphic novels before taking them for a test run first! The characters are all loosely connected and are hard to tell apart because the drawing style has everyone looking almost the same, sometimes it's hard to even distinguish between male and female. Only towards the end, which I might add is an abrupt cliffhanger, was there any real connection forged with the characters and their inner struggles, but by that point I really didn't care anymore and what feeling I had was wiped out by the forgone conclusion of an ending and said cliffhanger. Other aspects I hated, the lettering was for shit and tiny and you really needed to have a minute understanding of Germany history to find this at all interesting. While I hate to ripe to shreds a book that obviously took a lot of time and talent to do, he should have stuck to drawing sweeping street scenes which were lovely and avoided doing, well, anything else.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Kives

    Pretty interesting read. Takes place in about a 6 months span between 1928-1929 in Berlin. Events and the lives of people during the switch of power from the Kaiser and to the Labour party. This was originally supposed to be a 3 books series, but the 3rd never came out, so I'm curious what happened. This takes me back to reading Maus, not sure because of a similar story, but a non-fiction story dealt in a very serious way. Though this deals with much less hardships than Maus did. Pretty interesting read. Takes place in about a 6 months span between 1928-1929 in Berlin. Events and the lives of people during the switch of power from the Kaiser and to the Labour party. This was originally supposed to be a 3 books series, but the 3rd never came out, so I'm curious what happened. This takes me back to reading Maus, not sure because of a similar story, but a non-fiction story dealt in a very serious way. Though this deals with much less hardships than Maus did.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Peter Knox

    Very much enjoyed this fast historical fiction read. The drawing is lovely, the characters well developed, the actual history and philosophy building - I wanted more. But it wasn't necessarily groundbreaking. I appreciated the book more having visited Berlin early this year and studied quite a bit of their history. Seeing that come to life is inspiring. Want to read the whole collection. Very much enjoyed this fast historical fiction read. The drawing is lovely, the characters well developed, the actual history and philosophy building - I wanted more. But it wasn't necessarily groundbreaking. I appreciated the book more having visited Berlin early this year and studied quite a bit of their history. Seeing that come to life is inspiring. Want to read the whole collection.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This graphic novel perfectly captures the exuberance, tumult, and foreboding that defined life in Weimar Germany, the crucible of 20th century modernity (as well as of modernity's discontents). There's even a nice little love story thrown in. Very much looking forward to book two. This graphic novel perfectly captures the exuberance, tumult, and foreboding that defined life in Weimar Germany, the crucible of 20th century modernity (as well as of modernity's discontents). There's even a nice little love story thrown in. Very much looking forward to book two.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...