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Read reviews that mention graphic novel jason lutes weimar republic world war kurt severing art student black and white marthe muller journalist kurt city of stones period political germany comic detail historical lives artist chapter comics. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I have yet to read the second book, so maybe I'll come back and give this five stars once I do, but after finishing this I was impressed with how Jason Lutes was able to balance two different decades with approximately four different sets of characters with four different plot lines, all about to converge on a single date.
The complexity of Germany's political situation from is handled so delicately, subtly resonating in the backdrop of every chapter. I'm only giving it four stars for now because as it stands, I feel as though I need to know how it ends before I can properly review it and gather my complete thoughts. I love Berlin - there is something about the people, the pulse and rhythm of life in that city more than any other that speaks to me.
Therefore I had to read Jason Lutes' triology of the city, set in the waning days of the Weimar Republic. In the winter of and spring of , Berlin found itself still suffering from the war and increasingly divided between fascists and socialists. Historically, Lutes is dead-on: With this backdrop, Kurt Severing, a journalist and Marthe Muller, a young art student find themselves caught up crises both personal and part of the larger upheval of the times.
Yet what really pulled me in wasn't so much the plot around Kurt and Marthe, but the broad cast of minor characters who pop in and out of the story. In this, Lutes does the city - and its inhabitants - justice enriching the story as Berliners wrestle with a haunting sense of loss from the war while facing their own small frustrations and the larger dissatisfaction with the political and social status quo. Added to this rich narrative tapistry is Lutes' clean drawing style, that for me, captured the spirit of that time and place.
My enthusiasm about the book is certainly influenced by my fondness for the place and my professional interest in the time period. With that said, one could do much worse for a graphic novel in terms of art, story and attention to historical detail.
I'm not easily impressed by graphic novels I hate the term "graphic novels," but will use it until a better one comes along. Partly this is because most of them--like most conventional novels and films, for that matter --are mediocre. City of Stones is, hands-down, the very best graphic novel I've ever read. Lutes is a poet who's able to express a world of meaning in just a few words and his incredibly evocative drawings.
A raised eyebrow, a clenched fist, a look of wonderment or anxiety on the faces of his characters: And what a magnificent story it is. Using the early, turbulent years of the Weimar Republic as a backdrop, Lutes introduces a cast of characters that grow on the reader in an incredibly powerful way. There's the love story that involves the rather world-weary but still idealistic journalist Kurt Severing and the still-youngish but emotionally wounded artist Marthe Mueller.
There's Anna, the boyish lesbian, who falls in love with Marthe, her fellow art student. There's jaded, cynical Margarethe, who's either Kurt's wife or his longtime paramour it's not clear which. There's David, the young Jewish boy who escapes from an increasingly unfriendly world by hero-worshipping Harry Houdini the consummate escape artist. There's Otto and Gudrun, a working class couple barely able to keep their two kids, Heinz and Silvia alive. Otto and Gudrun react to the economic and political chaos of the Weimar Republic in opposite ways: Their separate choices are representative of the greater political and cultural choices each of the novel's characters must face.
They're also not unlike choices faced by contemporary readers of Lutes' Berlin. And there's another Otto, a dedicated Red who befriends Gudrun and who obviously is in love with her.
The second volume of Lutes' projected Berlin trilogy will be out shortly, and I for one can't wait. There was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the first volume I won't say what it is so as not to spoil things for those who haven't yet read it , and I'm anxious to see how Lutes follows up on it. But most of all, I'm eager to re-enter a world that, although presented in the minimalist way that's characteristic of graphic novels, has become astoundingly real, thanks to Lutes' genius.
Prelude to the Swastika. To many people, the city of Berlin represents the seat of power for the Nazi government. While it is true that officially Berlin was the Capital of the Third Reich, it never really was the heart and soul of this criminal enterprise.
Nazism emanated from Southern Germany. Being a large metropolis which holds a large eclectic population, most people see Berlin as an evolved city that has transformed itself away from it supposed Nazi heritage. But the question in fact must be asked and that is, was Berlin the hotbed of Nazism?
I really don't think it was. In the end it followed the rest of German politics and acquiesced to the Swastika. What Jason Lutes has created shows us a Berlin which many people don't know about. Through the eyes of Lutes' two main characters artist Marthe Muller and journalist Kurt Severing, we see a city splintered and very much in political and cultural transition.
Lutes creates several subplots to show the reader the true mindset and essence of these turbulent times.
The historical background of the effects of World War I and the subsequent disasters caused by the Treaty of Versailles are shown in the actions of the people residing in Berlin in Lutes' use of black and white graphics captures the feeling of this Prussian Capital in transition. The background of buildings and city scenes are images which truly reflect a true Northern Teutonic setting of the times. This graphic novel reads and images very well. It represents a genre classic to be savored.
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