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Berlin Book Three: City of Light

de Jason Lutes

Sèrie: Berlin {1996-2018 comic} (17-22)

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In the third and final act of Jason Lutes's Berlin, he ... demonstrates how the rise of fascism changes the city, radically transforming the intertwining lives of a small group of Berliners. --
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Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Berlin, Germany, Weimar Republic, Nazis
  Poyma | Jun 9, 2020 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3253952.html

Well, we had to wait more than ten years, and the third volume is shorter than the other two (149 pages compared to 207 and 210), but it was well worth it. Despite the shorter length, it covers a longer time period, from late 1930 up to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in January 1933; but the main story isn't the high politics of parliamentary manœuvre, it's the ongoing story of the little people, Marthe and Kurt, the non-fictional journalist Carl von Ossietzky, the children of Gudrun who was killed by state violence at the end of the first volume, the Jews seeking to get out before it is too late, Marthe's trans lover, random insights into the thoughts of passers-by. It's a reflection of how ordinary people get caught up in extraordinary events, and in these times of Trump and Brexit it feels an awful lot more relevant than it did ten years ago. The ending of the story is, inevitably, sad but satisfying.

I should say something about Lutes' style, explicitly inspired by Hergé's ligne claire. In the first volume I sometimes found it difficult to differentiate between characters (some of the adult women in particular were a bit too similar in appearance) but I did not find this a problem later on. In fact, I felt that the immediacy of the style made it easier to relate to the characters as real people in a real city, rather than incidental players in a grand historical tragedy. It's a great example of what the graphic medium can be - as I said previously, in the Eisner style, but reflecting also on Hergé and the Drawn and Quarterly tradition. ( )
1 vota nwhyte | Sep 14, 2019 |
The third of three books in series, each a collection of stories originally serialized as comics.

Berlin: Book Three (Issues 17-22) covers the period following the national elections (Sep 1930) to Hindenberg's appointment of Hitler to Chancellor (Jan 1933). Lutes doesn't provide captioned dates, as he did in the first two volumes, but events in the book appear to end before the Enabling Act of March 1933. (A visual epigraph is appended, spanning 1989 - present.)

City of Light focuses more on wrapping up stories of the various characters introduced in prior books, and less with the major historical developments which those characters were created to represent. The result is a looser portrayal of history than in the preceding installments. Major developments are depicted, such as Hitler's politicking with Hindenberg, Papen, Streicher, Strasser, but it's not always clear to me without first consulting an online summary or timeline. I actually think this is a good choice: the books have a creative integrity they otherwise wouldn't were Lutes to focus on faithfully representing history, the characters would sort of wander off or be abandoned, or do things for the sake of historical accuracy as opposed to within character. But it does sacrifice some of the macro-scale dynamics, at least in terms of anything but the major result, Hitler's consolidation of state power. ( )
1 vota elenchus | Mar 20, 2019 |
The final volume of a twenty-three year project by the author. Berlin tells the story of the conditions that gave rise to Nazism in 1929-33, through the interconnecting stories of a cast of representative characters. Although I feel as though this last collection runs out of gas a bit, the preceding two are stellar. The historical detail, and illustrative renderings evoke the period and, more importantly, the undercurrent of tension and conflict that created the opening through which Hitler stepped on his rise to power. ( )
2 vota dono421846 | Sep 22, 2018 |
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