Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Berlin: City of Stones - A Review
Berlin: City of Stones
by Jason Lutes
Jim sent me this book in my last box. Outside of Lee and Jim sending me books like this I'd probably never know about them. It's always nice to read something outside of my normal spectrum of books. To give a very brief overview this book is about Berlin, Germany somewhat before World War II. Honestly it's a topic that was never covered too thoroughly in history class for me. I mean we learned about WWI and how it impacted Germany, and we learned all about WWII - but not about much of the time in between. So this book was very interesting in the sense of being a new perspective on the people of Germany during such tumultuous times.
First, what I liked:
The author has obviously spent a lot of time researching the social and political climate of Germany in between the two World Wars. There's a lot of attention to detail and the characters you follow throughout the books are all strategically placed in such a way that you get a wide perspective of what's going on in the city of Berlin. My favorite characters were the journalist, Kurt and the sometimes-artist, Marthe. Marthe, while an interesting character in her own right, also helps to explain what's going on to the readers as she's the character who has been out of touch with current events for the past 11 years. As much as I'm familiar with Marx and the communist/socialists movements associated with him (as far as my anthropology background is concerned) it helped to have the Marxist movement explained in the context of pre-WWII Germany. I also like the feel of the book - it reminded me a lot of how Persepolis was written. It also reminds you that people are just that - people, with all the human failings thereof. The art was also well done and told the story well. Above all else I'm always really happy when a comic doesn't just tell a good story but teaches me something I didn't know before.
What I didn't like:
Very little. I was somewhat confused at times - it took me awhile to figure out Anna was a girl (in all fairness Anna dresses like a man). Yes, I know Anna is usually a girl's name, but not always. Beyond some gender confusion there wasn't much that I didn't like and I'm interested to read the next book in this collection.