Berlin, Vol. 1: City of Stones
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Berlin, Vol. 1: City of Stones (Berlin #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,768 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Berlin: City of Stones presents the first part of Jason Lutes' captivating trilogy, set in the twilight years of Germany's Weimar Republic. Kurt Severing, a journalist, and Marthe Muller, an art student, are the central figures in a broad cast of characters intertwined with the historical events unfolding around them. City of Stones covers eight months in Berlin, from Sept...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Community Reviews

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Seth Hahne
Every now and again, a comic comes out that assures me that the medium can tell certain kinds of stories in a way that no other medium can touch. Every now and again, a comic comes out that despite its natural humility asserts itself as a model to which the medium should aspire. Every now and again, a comic comes out that just flat-out knocks me off my feet and makes me think that everything is going to be alright after all.

That comic this time round is Jason Lutes' Berlin: City of Stones.

It's n...more
Mariel
Aug 24, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Frankfurt
Recommended to Mariel by: Hamburg
Berlinerluft is the special air of Berlin, like a magic atmosphere. Or love or being drunk or high. Staying up all night and feeling like you didn't waste a moment and the day ahead of you isn't seen through raccoon eyes that want to scurry inside the nearest trash bin tingles up your spine. If Los Angeles smog turns people in Tom Hanks and they go diving into volcanoes what happens to Berliners? They walk into fog and come out in love? They make the best David Bowie albums and are as supremely...more
Angela
Lutes has vividly captured Weimar Republic Berlin in this ambitious historical graphic novel. It's impossible to read it and not have a heightened sense of the cultural, political, and economic forces clashing within the city. Some of the characters struggle to find enough to eat while some ponder how unimaginable it would be to work; some are gradually drawn into politics while others attempt to stay out of the fray. Lutes succeeds at creating this swirling, animated Berlin, where characters' l...more
J
Berlin: City of Stones is probably the best graphic novel I've ever read. What you should get from this is not that I'm some graphic novel aficionado, but that my admiration is sincere. I would recommend it to any person who enjoys a rich, multi-layered story peopled with engaging characters; it would also be an excellent first graphic novel for people new to the genre, even (maybe especially) for folks skeptical of sequential art's virtues.

There is little to dislike in this book and a lot to ad...more
Andy Shuping
The first thing that I noticed about this novel was the artwork. I like the simple clean cut lines that give us such depth and emotion to the characters and the worlds around them. Jason captures the gritty city life well in decaying buildings, the rooftops where the art students hang out, and the traffic circles. The one thing that did trouble me was that some of the faces were...manish in appearance. I had to look at the clothing and the hair style to see if it was a male or female character (...more
Sam Quixote
This book starts the series Lutes has devoted years to creating, the story of Germany between the wars. The story follows the lives of several people, a journalist riling against the rise of fascism, a young art student conflicted with her feelings of love for other women, a married woman who is thrown out of her family by her husband for her leanings toward communism, as well as others. The story shows rallies for various political parties as well as peoples' feelings for Hindenburg and of cour...more
Dan
Jan 23, 2011 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
this was a great way to spend an afternoon. lutes' berlin: city of stones is an atmospheric panorama of weimar germany and its uncertain inhabitants. there are a lot of characters to keep track of for such a short graphic novel, and i'm glad that there are two more installments in my future (eventually... only one is published at the moment from what i gather) through which he might flesh all of them out. instead of sadistic nationalists and communist zealots, lutes establishes a world of troubl...more
Nick Kives
Pretty interesting read. Takes place in about a 6 months span between 1928-1929 in Berlin. Events and the lives of people during the switch of power from the Kaiser and to the Labour party. This was originally supposed to be a 3 books series, but the 3rd never came out, so I'm curious what happened. This takes me back to reading Maus, not sure because of a similar story, but a non-fiction story dealt in a very serious way. Though this deals with much less hardships than Maus did.
Ollie
Let me start this review exactly as I started my review of Lutes' Jar of Fools.

Ahem.

"Honestly, I don't know what all the hoopla is with Jason Lutes' Berlin, because Jar of Fools is where it's at."

Not that Berlin is a terrible book by any means, it's just boring and uneventful most of the time. While this is just the beginning of what will be Lutes' trilogy on the Weimar republic and Germany in between wars, Book 1: City of Stones can be quite a frustrating read. It's essentially a mishmash of...more
Chris
This graphic novel perfectly captures the exuberance, tumult, and foreboding that defined life in Weimar Germany, the crucible of 20th century modernity (as well as of modernity's discontents). There's even a nice little love story thrown in. Very much looking forward to book two.
Brandon Ostrom
I did not read this. I don't know why its here. While you ponder this, I will presently eat a small apple and lounge in my lounge recliner which is made of bones.
Aydah
A friend grabbed this copy for me because she knows my taste (thanks Ann!). I laughed at this one picture of a post-coitus naked man. Oh look at me....I'm using a fancy word, post-coitus! The picture was a frontal body shot and I pointed and laughed with my friend about it. We were totally immature for our age. Then, there were more and I giggled warmly. On the serious note, I thought this was an okay read. Nothing too exciting but this graphic novel portrays the every-day lives of ordinary peop...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Nu mai știu cum am ajuns la comics-ul lui Jason Lutes dar nici nu mai contează.
Tot ce contează este că am descoperit o adevărată bijuterie a romanului grafic.
Berlinul lui Jason Lutes este extraordinar de bine redat și construit. Povestea este construită în jurul a două personaje: Kurt Severing - un jurnalist care scrie eseuri politice pentru comuniști - și Marthe Muller - o studentă în vârstă de 29 de ani la arte.
Ambele personaje par aruncate de vârtejul și haosul din Germania anilor 20 într-u...more
P.Sannie
Jan 05, 2009 P.Sannie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: German history fans
I read this book in German and I have to say that I think it might be better in German than in English for a huge reason: You get to read the different dialects. The Berliner dialect is strongly present and at times difficult to read, but I can't imagine how this would be shown in English.

Lutes tells the story of Weimar Republic Berlin right before the National-socialists took over. He weaves the story wonderfully with various characters: Marthe Müller (art student from Cologne), Kurt Severing...more
Evan
The Nazis and Reds have clashed on May Day 1929 and one of our prole protags may have met with a sad fate...or has she?

Tune in next time in Volume 2 of Berlin... to find out!

I love it that, in spite of all the hushed solemnities attending uber-serious graphic novels like this, when all is said and done the cliffhanger--that old standby from the lowliest action comic of yore--is trotted out as our Trotskyites and Teutonic Tories do battle.

Hey, it's OK. Jason Lutes may be an artiste, but he still...more
thegift
the weimar republic in the roaring 20s- first volume in the best graphic series I have read.

have just reread this, rare to do so with graphics, but worth it. my knowledge of history of that time is primarily through narrative works like this, not studying, finding a sense of the times through historical fiction- movies, books, now graphics- that helps make sense of the rise of hitler, horror of antisemitism as a political force, extremism of fascism, hope and naïveté of the common people...

best...more
Mips
Duitsland, Berlijn, Weimar-republiek (tss WOI en WOII), opkomst NSDAP, economische crisis, hoge werkloosheidsgraad, grootschalige 1 mei-mars 1929,...
Tegen deze historische achtergrond wordt het verhaal verteld over de ontmoeting tussen de journalist, Kurt Severing en de kunststudente, Marthe Müller.
Onlangs las ik toevallig ook Dick Matena's 'Parijs 25/44' en het contrast tussen beide werken kon niet groter zijn. Waar Matena een eerder onbeduidend verhaal ophangt aan een aantal beroemde historisc...more
Graziano
Berlin: City of Stones, according to the magazine Time, is one of the best graphic novel ever written.

Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes is supposed to be a graphic novel series describing life in Berlin between WWI and WWII. The main characters of book one are an art student (Marthe Mueller) and a journalist (Kurt Severing), a second story line tells about a family who decides to follow the main political streams: mother and daughter join the communist party, while father and son join the N...more
Emilie W
Berlin: City of Stones is a historical graphic novel. It introduces the cultural, political, and economic forces clashes in 1928. Within the book the characters’ lives constantly intersect, Lutes probably writing so in order to conjure a sense of fluidity. However, I find this graphic novel poses problems with its busyness since things can easily be mixed up and, therefore, form misconceptions. I often felt blindsided by the sudden appearances of characters without enough explanation, and even w...more
Josh
This is the best graphic novel I've ever read. It blew me away because it is primarily a novel.

With all due respect to McCloud's thesis in "Understanding Comics," it sometimes feels like both the author and the audience of graphic novels gets sucked into the black hole of "novelty" of the medium. They optimistically imagine that the delicious interplay between drawings and words creates the value.

They are wrong: the interplay is merely a tool (and not even a new tool). The magic is purely anci...more
Dan Venning
Lutes' graphic novel, the first part of a trilogy set towards the end of the Weimar Republic, imagines the varied denizens of Berlin as it sits on the eve of collapse into Nazi chaos. The book only covers a short span of time: from September 1928 through a frigid winter and to the Berlin May Day march and massacre on May 1, 1929.

The central characters, Kurt Severing, a middle-aged Jewish leftist journalist, and Marthe Müller, a sometime art student, each observe these events from their particul...more
David Schaafsma
I was not looking forward to reading this book. The roots of fascism and Naziism in twentieth century Germany? I feel like I know something about this, and have read my share of Holocaust literature... but I just had read Lutes's first book, and this was said to be his masterpiece, this trilogy, and it kind of looks like it is! I liked his first book and most of what I have read from him, but this is a step up to greatness, and it is only the first of the trilogy! The idea of the novel, named as...more
Carly Thompson
First in a projected trilogy set in Germany near the end of the Weimar Republic shortly before Hitler came to power, this book traces the ordinary lives of various Berliners over a period of several months. Characters include Bohemian art students, a journalist, a Jewish teenager, a poor family where the father becomes a fascist and the mother a communist after the marriage breaks up, WWI veterans. The action moves fluidly between the characters and I had to pay close attention to which characte...more
Andrew
Feb 17, 2012 Andrew added it
Shelves: comics
I read both City of Stones and City of Smoke in a whirlwind, so I suppose I'll use this space to evaluate both of them.

I'm not a huge comics reader-- never have been-- so when I first started reading, I was still approaching the text expecting a similar experience to a traditional, text-exclusive novel. The initial several pages seemed like they could have been conveyed better as a traditional novel, but then I slowly became familiar with Lutes' style, and the interaction between the text and th...more
Catherine
Berlin: City of Stones is the first of a planned 3 volume series by Lutes which tells the story of the fall of the Weimar Republic from the point of view of various Berliners, mainly Marthe and Kurt. Overall this was highly engaging and emotional. I loved all the different techniques Lutes used to convey different emotions. Different perspectives, random thoughts from non-characters, overhead views and other different tecnhiques are employed to give an all encompassing view of Berlin at the time...more
Erin
Little to say about Berlin: City of Stones except that I liked it more and more as the book went on, which makes me think that I might need to continue with the series (how long is the series? I don’t know). My initial dissatisfaction was with the wide cast of characters and my apparent inability to keep them all straight, but as the book went on I worked them out, and so, enjoyed it more (definitely the case where the reader is at fault!).

I did enjoy the attention to Germany in the interwar per...more
Zeo
I'm mixed on this. The art is beautiful, but I constantly struggled to tell characters apart. The storylines are engaging, but the art being what it was I often had to lean on the storylines to distinguish the characters, making the storylines muddled. In fact, oddly, it meant that the characters most visually and narratively distinct were the most interesting - but they weren't the main characters, so the result is that most of the book reads like remembering a dream. I'm constantly asking myse...more
Andrea
It���s Berlin, in the years before World War II. We follow a group of characters���including the young art student Marthe, her friends, and a journalist named Kurt Severing���as they live their ordinary lives on what we now know is the brink of a horror. The story sprawls throughout the city, focusing on seemingly unrelated events that we come to see as connected. Nazis are just coming to power, Communists are protesting, American jazz is being played in cabarets, Marthe and Kurt are falling in...more
Zioluc
La vita a Berlino negli anni della Repubblica di Weimar, prima dell'avvento del nazismo al potere: una metropoli vivace percorsa da movimenti politici e culturali e da persone di ogni estrazione sociale e nazionalità.
Romanzo corale con dozzine di personaggi, con trovate grafiche e "registiche" spesso originali. Il tutto è rovinato da un disegno non all'altezza, che mi ricorda i più mediocri albi di Dylan Dog. Interessante. Temo che vorrò leggere il secondo volume...
Soobie's heartbroken
A volte mi chiedo perché mi ostino a leggere graphic novels quando so benissimo che le probabilità che mi piacciano sono minime.

I disegni, l'atmosfera, la storia... Di questo romanzo non mi è piaciuto nulla. Intanto non riuscivo a distinguere i vari protagonisti. La scena cambiava e io non sapevo chi fosse in scena. L'atmosfera era cupa e grigia. E la storia non mi ha appassionato.

Ma forse sono solo io che sono in un periodo NO.
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