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Babylon Berlin (2007)

by Volker Kutscher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Gereon Rath (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5611433,029 (3.57)22
"James Ellroy fans will welcome Kutscher's first novel and series launch, a fast-paced blend of murder and corruption sent in 1929 Berlin."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) The first book in the international-bestselling series that centers on Detective Gereon Rath caught up in a web of drugs, sex, political intrigue, and murder in Berlin as Germany teeters on the edge of Nazism. It's 1929 and Berlin is the vibrating metropolis of post-war Germany-full of bars and brothels and dissatisfied workers at the point of revolt. Gereon Rath is new in town and new to the police department. When a dead man without an identity, bearing traces of atrocious torture, is discovered, Rath sees a chance to find his way back into the homicide division. He discovers a connection with a circle of oppositional exiled Russians who try to purchase arms with smuggled gold in order to prepare a coup d'Etat. But there are other people trying to get hold of the gold and the guns, too. Raths finds himself up against paramilitaries and organized criminals. He falls in love with Charlotte, a typist in the homicide squad, and misuses her insider's knowledge for his personal investigations. And as he gets further entangled with the case, he never imagined becoming a suspect himself. "The first in a series that's been wildly popular in Germany is an excellent police procedural that cleverly captures the dark and dangerous period of the Weimer Republic before it slides into the ultimate evil of Nazism."-Kirkus Reviews "Conjures up the dangerous decadence of the Weimar years, with blood on the Berlin streets and the Nazis lurking menacingly in the wings."-The Sunday Times (London).… (more)
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» See also 22 mentions

English (8)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
(German review below)

Although I don't think it's supposed to be, this is basically a cheesy romance novel for men, completely with:
1. Long and repetitive descriptions of people's appearances - when they are of the other sex than the main character. Usually starting with their breasts or legs.
2. Every female character wants the main character, even those who already have a man. Well, except for the ones described as "fat". That would be just gross, of course. (sarcasm)
3. The main character is supposed to be very clever, but mostly things just happen to him without him doing anything significant.
4. Wooden and cheesy dialogue.
5. A plot that could have been interesting, but is presented very straightforward to make room for a cheesy and boring romance will-they-won't-they plot and resolved too easily.
6. The characters are all very clever and capable, except when they need to not be.
7. The main character is not very consistent and thus not very likeable, although he is supposed to be... 'deep'.
8. The other characters are flat and cliché.

The book is very, very long. There are a lot of repetitions and unnecessary descriptions. The story could easily have been told in about half the pages.

I give it a second star because, although there are some inaccuracies, the author clearly did a lot of research.

I would have loved to read this book if he had provided the historical context and another author had done the actual writing.
__________________________________________________

Auch wenn es das vermutlich nicht sein möchte, ist das Buch ein Groschenroman für Männer. Komplett mit:
1. Langen und ständig wiederholten Beschreibungen von Charakteren des anderen Geschlechts (als der Hauptcharakter). Diese beginnen für gewöhnlich mit ihren "wölbenden" Brüsten oder ihren langen Beinen.
2. Jeder weibliche Charakter will natürlich mit dem Hauptcharakter ins Bett, auch die eigentlich vergebenen. Außer natürlich diejenigen, die als "fett" beschrieben werden. Das wäre ja eklig. (Sarkasmus)
3. Der Hauptcharakter wird als schlau und clever beschrieben, meistens tut er selbst aber eher wenig und Dinge passieren ihm einfach.
4. Hölzerne Dialoge. (Ich bezweifle, dass Frauen in den 20ern mit vollem Ernst Dinge gesagt haben wie "Oh, du hast ja _noch_ eine Waffe dabei. Lass uns die doch mal rausholen.")
5. Ein Plot der interessant hätte sein können, sich aber sehr einfach entwickelt, um Platz für die langweilige Standard-Romanze zu lassen.
6. Die Charaktere sind schlau und fähig, außer wenn es notwendig ist, dass sie es nicht sind.
7. Das wirkt sich auch auf den Hauptcharakter aus, der nicht sehr konsistent präsentiert wird und damit leider nicht meine Sympathie wecken kann.
8. Die anderen Charaktere sind flach und Klischee-beladen.

Das Buch ist sehr, sehr lang, mit vielen Wiederholungen und unnötigen Beschreibungen. Die Geschichte hätte vermutlich auf ca. der Hälfte der Seiten erzählt werden können.

Ich vergebe einen zweiten Stern, weil der Autor offensichtlich seine Hausaufgaben gemacht hat. Es gibt ein paar Ungenauigkeiten, aber die gibt es immer. Davon abgesehen ist der hohe Rechercheaufwand zu erkennen.

Ich würde das Buch sehr gern lesen, wenn der Autor sein historisches Wissen beisteuert und eine andere Person die eigentliche Schreibarbeit übernimmt. ( )
  booksandliquids | May 3, 2021 |
Pretty good but surprisingly not as good as the tv series. Will definitely read more. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
Berlin 1929: opium dens, night clubs, debauchery and decadence. You can see, hear and smell the city. The depth of detail is equalled by suspense and complex characters. Gereon Rath is a detective recently arrived in Berlin from Cologne where his policeman father is. Rath wants to impress his father with whom he has a fraught relationship.
Rath is keen but unworldly when he arrives in the city where political ferment threatens to erupt. He becomes involved in the murder of an unidentified Russian. Rath's discovers a plot to smuggle Russian gold and guns. To bring the perpetrators to justice, he must navigate a labyrinth of political and police intrigue. The tension builds as Rath is forced to take enormous risks that could end not just his career but his life.
Fans of Germany's Weimar period will love this magnificent glimpse of the era as will those who enjoy a thriller with substance. ( )
  Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
This book is a quality read, well researched and written, clever compelling and intelligent, with excellent in depth characters and a real feeling for time and place. Descriptive imaginative thoughtful and completely engrossing from start to finish.
Recommended ( )
  Gudasnu | Feb 8, 2020 |
I tried. I swear I did. And this should have been a no-brainer for me because I'm fascinated with Weimar Berlin, and have done a whole lot of reading on the subject. But for some reason this book just defeated me and I really don't know why. Maybe I just never warmed to the characters, or thought of them as more than cardboard figures. I found the plot a little confusing, but I suspect that was because I would read for a while and put the book down, then come back a week later and read a little more. I managed to get about two-thirds of it read before I was willing to admit that I didn't like the book and didn't want to finish.

And honestly I really would love to start over again one day and see if I can't push on through and get a real feel for the world Kutscher created, and the people who inhabit it. I keep thinking that I'm missing something important, but damned if I know what it is.

So here's the bottom line: It's well written from a technical standpoint, but it never held my interest for very long, so I'd say that both the plot and the characters were uninvolving. The latter more so, which is always a problem for me. I'm of the opinion that character has to drive plot to make it worth reading. Overall, I'd rate it: Meh. ( )
1 vote Tracy_Rowan | Apr 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kutscher, VolkerAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrés, SusanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biseth, DagTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blanken, JanetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Girault, MagaliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lund, HanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sellar, NiallTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Severi, PalmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swann, MarkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vitale, RosannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Spree-Athen ist tot, und Spree-Chicago wächst heran.
Walther Rathenau
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
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Wann würden sie zurückkommen?
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"James Ellroy fans will welcome Kutscher's first novel and series launch, a fast-paced blend of murder and corruption sent in 1929 Berlin."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) The first book in the international-bestselling series that centers on Detective Gereon Rath caught up in a web of drugs, sex, political intrigue, and murder in Berlin as Germany teeters on the edge of Nazism. It's 1929 and Berlin is the vibrating metropolis of post-war Germany-full of bars and brothels and dissatisfied workers at the point of revolt. Gereon Rath is new in town and new to the police department. When a dead man without an identity, bearing traces of atrocious torture, is discovered, Rath sees a chance to find his way back into the homicide division. He discovers a connection with a circle of oppositional exiled Russians who try to purchase arms with smuggled gold in order to prepare a coup d'Etat. But there are other people trying to get hold of the gold and the guns, too. Raths finds himself up against paramilitaries and organized criminals. He falls in love with Charlotte, a typist in the homicide squad, and misuses her insider's knowledge for his personal investigations. And as he gets further entangled with the case, he never imagined becoming a suspect himself. "The first in a series that's been wildly popular in Germany is an excellent police procedural that cleverly captures the dark and dangerous period of the Weimer Republic before it slides into the ultimate evil of Nazism."-Kirkus Reviews "Conjures up the dangerous decadence of the Weimar years, with blood on the Berlin streets and the Nazis lurking menacingly in the wings."-The Sunday Times (London).

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Haiku summary
Rath in Ungnade
Berlin in den Zwanzigern
Mord und Politik
(passion4reading)

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