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Berlin: City of Smoke by Jason Lutes

Berlin: City of Smoke (2002)

by Jason Lutes

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The second of three books in series, each a collection of stories originally serialized as comics.

Berlin: Book Two (Issues 9-16) covers Jun 1929 - Sep 1930, the increasing frequency and severity of street violence after Blutmai leading to the dramatic electoral gains by the NSDAP in national elections. To the players from Book One are added a jazz quintet from America, and the various business associates from Berlin's famed nightlife. Their race (all or most are evidently African Americans from the South), relative professional success, and general ignorance of German culture make for an interesting comment on American isolationism.

A favourite: blue notes from a jazz clarinet against the straight notes from the German radio, bending and swerving into a flight of birds, transitioning to the next scene. ( )
  elenchus | Sep 14, 2015 |
I felt the author was more in control of his story in this second volume that he was in the first. The feeling of too many characters no longer arises. Although, really... take some cocaine and become a lesbian? The volume ends at a climactic moment in German political history. We can only imagine what awaits in the final volume of the trilogy. ( )
  dono421846 | Jan 25, 2014 |
The multi-threaded narrative takes place between the May Day massacre and the rise of the National Socialist party to control of the Reichstag in 1930. In addition to the characters from vol. 1, an American jazz band is added, and we see some of the cabaret and decadent culture that the period is known for, as well as hearing political discussion and seeing political violence. Because it follows multiple people, whose narratives take divergent paths, do not read it expecting a traditional plot with climax and resolution. But there is plenty of tension. ( )
  AmyMacEvilly | Dec 3, 2013 |
Graphic novel, part 2.
  grheault | Nov 9, 2012 |
‘And what a dirty, dirty city - the soot, the automobile fumes, the smoke from the factories.’
(p. 152)

The May Day demonstration of 1929 doesn’t solve the tensions between Communist and National Socialist, Jews and Gentiles. Jason Lutes in book two following various threads tells about people living in Berlin: the main problem is which idea / party is better than another to solve the deep economic crisis.

Marthe Müller follows Kurt Severing while he interviews survivors of the May Day. People struggle to keep their goods, other people struggle to gain food.
An American jazz band holds concerts in Berlin, and this music helps people to avoid the Berlin’s smoky words.

Berlin a city without rules, moral, only words spread everywhere like smoke.
‘The world outside is filled with different sorts of words. Thanks to the emergency election, the rhetoric has come in thick, like smoke downwind of a burning building.’ (p. 206) ( )
  GrazianoRonca | Dec 1, 2010 |
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"I thought you were a pacifist, Severing."
"Against violence, Ringelnatz--wholly in favor of acts of God that happen to kill fascists."
The workers choose sides based on who shouts the loudest, splitting their numbers between those who stand on soap-boxes and those that climb lamp-posts.
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Disambiguation notice
Only combine like issues full graphic novel editions of Berlin together. Do not combine ALL instances into one super-work. Each graphic novel collection and individual issue is a unique work.
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"The second volume of Jason Lutes's historical epic finds the people of Weimar Berlin searching for answers after the lethal May Day demonstration of 1929. Tension builds along with the dividing wall between communists and nationalists, Jews and Gentiles, as the dawn of the Second World War draws closer. Meanwhile, the nightlife of Berlin heats up as many attempt to distract themselves from the political upheavals within the city"--Publisher's website.… (more)

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