Berlin Book Two City of Smoke


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Drawn and Quarterly


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1897299532

9781897299531

200 Pages

$22.95

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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. The American jazz band Cocoa Kids arrives and quickly becomes a fixture. The lives of the characters within Lutes’s epic weave together to create a seamless portrait of this transitory city. Marthe Muller follows her lover Kurt Severing as he interviews participants in the May Day demonstration, but she moonlights in the city’s lesbian nightlife. Severing acts as a window through which the political shifts within the city and its participants can be seen. As with Berlin: City of Stones, Book One, Lutes creates a sense of anxiety and imminent doom.

REVIEWS

Praise for Berlin Book Two

"The interweaving stories . . . give a human dimension to a seismic era. Mr. Lutes's unsentimental black-and-white drawings are so understated that when violence erupts it has a jolt."—The Wall Street Journal

"[A] complex storyline that promises to get even better with the subsequent installments. Think of it as a graphic-novel equivalent of a foreign film—slow, perhaps, but well acted and beautiful.—The Washington Post

Praise for Berlin: City of Stones, Book One:

"A comic of impressive scope. One of the appealing things about Berlin is Lutes' love of the comic medium. His story is full of novel combinations of text and pictures, shuttling (a la Wings of Desire) between impassive bird's-eye cityscapes and dairy-like internal monologues."—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"[Berlin] will be the longest, most sophisticated work of historical fiction in the [graphic novel] medium. Lutes has a natural, clean, European drawing style, much like Hergé's Tintin . . . This book has the density of the best novels."—Time

"This black-and-white historical narrative, written and illustrated by Lutes, collects eight volumes of his ongoing comic book set in Berlin during the late '20s. It's a multilayered tale of love and politics at the beginning of the Nazi era, as Lutes follows the stories of three characters: a 20ish art student from the provinces, a textile worker, and a young Jewish radical. Their lives intersect in only the subtlest ways—Lutes depicts them crossing paths at some great public events, such as the May Day march that closes this part of his [trilogy]. And Lutes plays with perspective in a visual sense as well, jumping from point-of-view frames to overhead angles, including one from a dirigible flying above in honor of the Kaiser. At street level, Lutes integrates his historical research smoothly, and cleverly evokes the sounds and smells of a city alive with public debate and private turmoil. The competing political factions include communists, socialists, democrats, nationalists, and fascists, and all of Lutes's characters get swept up by events. Marthe, the beautiful art student, settles in with Kurt, the cynical and detached journalist; Gudrun, the factory worker, loses her job, and her nasty husband (to the Nazi party), then joins a communist cooperative with her young daughters; Schwartz, a teenager enamored with the memory of Rosa Luxembourg, balances his incipient politics with his religion at home and his passion for Houdini. The lesser figures seem fully realized as well, from the despotic art instructor to the reluctant street policeman. Cosmopolitan Berlin on the brink of disaster: Lutes captures the time and place with a historian's precision and a cinematographer's skill. His shifts from close-ups to fades work perfectly in his thin-line style, a crossbreed of dense-scene European comics and more simple comics styles on this side of the Atlantic. An original project worth watching as it shapes up to something that may be quite magnificent."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Born in 1967, JASON LUTES is an American cartoonist whose work includes the ongoing Berlin trilogy, and the graphic novel Jar of Fools.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Born in New Jersey in 1967, Jason Lutes is an American cartoonist whose work includes the ongoing Berlin trilogy and the graphic novel Jar of Fools.  He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and a former art director at The Stranger.
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