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Berlin

by Jason Lutes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2016103,410 (4.34)10
"Berlin is an intricate look at the fall of the Weimar Republic through the eyes of its citizens--Marthe Müller, a young woman escaping the memory of a brother killed in World War I, Kurt Severing, an idealistic journalist losing faith in the printed word as fascism and extremism take hold; the Brauns, a family torn apart by poverty and politics. Lutes weaves these characters' lives into the larger fabric of a city slowly ripping apart. The city itself is the central protagonist in this historical fiction. Lavish salons, crumbling sidewalks, dusty attics, and train stations: all these places come alive in Lutes' masterful hand. Weimar Berlin was the world's metropolis, where intellectualism, creativity, and sensuous liberal values thrived, and Lutes maps its tragic, inevitable decline. Devastatingly relevant and beautifully told, Berlin is one of the great epics of the comics medium."--… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Haha wow I just spent a LONG time writing a LONG review and it vanished into nothing when I clicked to post it! Maybe I will attempt to reconstruct it from memory someday.

The very short version: BERLIN is great, the first section is far and away the best, but I ended the book wishing it was twice as long. ( )
  francoisvigneault | May 17, 2021 |
An amazing book. So huge in its scope and so well done in its storytelling and illustration. This book is bound to be on a short list of classic graphic novels. ( )
  evenlake | Mar 23, 2021 |
I started reading this series over two decades ago as individual comic issues. Somewhere around the middle of the run, I had to stop buying comics for financial reasons, but knew I would return to this story one day. When I saw this all-in-one hardcover edition was being published last year, I immediately requested it for purchase at one of my local libraries. Despite my eagerness to finally get the whole story, I was too daunted to crack this thick, heavy brick until a bad cold kept me on the living room sofa for the entirety of the Fourth of July.

The first half was as great as I remembered. So many of the themes and events are timely to what's happening today in America. The second half flags a little bit as the events gets increasingly depressing, Lutes lets his sprawling cast get away from him a little bit, and the ending comes with a true-to-life whimper.

I might have went three stars for the story alone, but Lutes' pacing and art is masterful throughout. Though mostly working with pages using traditional 6-, 9-, or 12-panel frames, he sections and breaks them just so to control the speed of little moments and capture the dynamics of big ones. Just beautiful. ( )
1 vote villemezbrown | Jul 7, 2019 |
Jason Lutes' historical graphic novel Berlin is a masterpiece. It tells the story of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi Party during the years 1928 through 1933. It was originally serialized in 22 issues over 2 decades but it was published in one volume by Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly in September, 2018.

The story opens with Marthe Muller arriving in Berlin on a train where she has met Berlin journalist Kurt Severing. Muller has come to Berlin to take art classes and is mourning the loss of her brother in WW1. Many of the scenes in the book show both of them throughout their days with the people they meet and live with. The Braun family is also prominent. They are a working class family struggling to make ends meet. Another family that is prominent in the book is a Jewish family adapting to the political environment.

The City of Berlin is actually the protagonist of the story. Both its luxuriousness and its poverty are shown. The author has scenes depicting lavish salons, severely disabled homeless veterans, automobiles for the rich, crumbling buildings and elaborate train stations. He also uses characters to show that it was a city of intellectualism with a loose sexual culture before it fell into decline.

While the main characters are interesting, there are many secondary characters that tell a major part of the city's story. Some of them you may only see in one scene but they reflect the views of people in a changing society who don't really care for change whether it be political or technological. Other secondary characters are members of political groups fighting for change.

The artwork consists of intricately detailed black and white drawings set in a traditional comic book page spread. Every couple of pages there is a full page drawing. Even the drawings that do not have dialogue say a lot because the faces that are drawn within them are so expressive.

Berlin is a masterpiece. It is an epic historical novel in 575 pages and I highly recommend it. ( )
2 vote Violette62 | Oct 10, 2018 |
Showing 4 of 4
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"Berlin is an intricate look at the fall of the Weimar Republic through the eyes of its citizens--Marthe Müller, a young woman escaping the memory of a brother killed in World War I, Kurt Severing, an idealistic journalist losing faith in the printed word as fascism and extremism take hold; the Brauns, a family torn apart by poverty and politics. Lutes weaves these characters' lives into the larger fabric of a city slowly ripping apart. The city itself is the central protagonist in this historical fiction. Lavish salons, crumbling sidewalks, dusty attics, and train stations: all these places come alive in Lutes' masterful hand. Weimar Berlin was the world's metropolis, where intellectualism, creativity, and sensuous liberal values thrived, and Lutes maps its tragic, inevitable decline. Devastatingly relevant and beautifully told, Berlin is one of the great epics of the comics medium."--

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