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Comment: This cover has a visible crease or bend. The spine of this book shows some wear. Purchase of this item helps the Friends raise funds for The Seattle Public Library. This is a former Library book with normal library stamping and stickers.
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Berlin Book Two: City of Smoke (Bk. 2) Paperback – August 19, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
Book 2 of 10 in the Berlin Series

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$14.73 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Berlin Book Two: City of Smoke (Bk. 2)
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  • Berlin: City of Stones: Book One (Part 1)
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  • Acme Novelty Library #20
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A comic of impressive scope, taking place in Weimar Berlin and touching on the issues of politics, aesthestics and technology in that cultural ground zero.” ―San Francisco Chronicle on Berlin Book One

“[Berlin] will be the longest, most sophisticated work of historical fiction in the medium. Lutes has a natural, clean, European drawing style, much like Hergé's Tintin . . . This book has the density of the best novels.” ―Time on Berlin Book One

About the Author

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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Product Details

  • Series: Berlin (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1St Edition edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299531
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. D. Bennett on September 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Berlin, City of Smoke, Jason Lutes picks up where the first book, City of Stones, left off - after the events of May 1929. The storytelling has improved, both in terms of the narrative and the actual art itself. It's a bit more cohesive and streamlined - the work of a master at his craft, honing his skills even further. Not that the first book wasn't good .. far from it! It's just that this one's better.

The character art work has gotten noticeably better - characters are more consistent and fluid in their movements and especially in their facial expressions. It's always great to see an artist at the top of their game - in any field - and this second edition of the Berlin trilogy is Lutes' best work so far.

I won't give away anything from the story itself but will say it gets more interesting and a little easier to follow. This is a fascinating piece of work, both with the historical content and in the story itself. Lutes' has much to say about the many facets of the human condition and does it in a such a finessed way .. he doesn't hit you over the head with anything, he lets the story come first and weaves in the "sub messages" lightly, just like a writer of good prose would do.

Like the best comic storytelling, it's an easy first read that rewards repeated reading. Highly recommended - at the price listed on Amazon, this is a steal. And a gorgeously depicted Josephine Baker even makes an appearance .. what more do you want?
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Picking up immeadiately following the May Day, 1929 demonstrations, Jason Lutes continues his story of journalist Kurt Severing and student Marthe Muller in the waning days of the Weimar Republic. As with in Berlin: City of Stones: Book One (Part 1), the voices of other Berliners weave in and out of the narrative - including a sub-plot involving some American jazz musicians that I partiuclarly enjoyed.

The story is bitter-sweet, not only in terms of the relationshipe between Kurt and Marthe, but for the city of Berlin itself. Again Lutes creates both a sympathetic view of Berlin in the late 20s and early 30s (as one character puts it, "Its a madhouse - things are on the verge of collapse! Can't any of you feel it? The air is thick with imminent disaster, and we spend our time doodling the days away like children") showing how Germany's post-war republic gradually dissolved into a fascist dictatorship.

A closer read shows a real appreciation for the city - from the slang (referring to police as "Bulls" - slang that is not as benign as "cop" nor as acidic as "pig" - but somewhere in the middle) to depicitions of the city - especially the neighborhood Wedding (referred to as "Red Wedding" for its strong working-class feel) to bits of dialoge about the Spree or a scene of the Seigelsaule. Clearly Lutes knows his stuff.

While graphic novels may not be to everyone's taste, I would without hesitation recommend this book to anyone given its strengths.
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I've eagerly awaited the appearance of Jason Lute second volume of Berlin. Now that it's appeared, I realize that it was well worth waiting for. But it also seems to me that there's a bit of a decline in the meticulous craftsmanship that characterized the first volume.

The story line continues in expected ways from an historical perspective, but in quite unexpected ways from the perspective of the characters. The most searing change is in the relationship between Kurt Severing, the increasingly disillusioned pacifist, leftist, and political journalist, and his young love Marthe Muller, whom he introduces to the cultural life of Berlin.

What happens to Marthe and Kurt seems to parallel what's happening to the Weimar Republic in general: things fall apart. Much of City of Smoke follows the breakdown of the Republic: the increasing violence between fascists and communists, the virulence of anti-Semitism, the suppression of intellectuals. Jazz, lesbianism, homosexuality, and a general sense of fin de siecle are some of the themes that Lutes explores.

Two shortcomings, while not at all fatal to Lutes' project, make the second volume of Berlin less wonderful than the first. At times, in order to add some historical detail to his story, Lutes becomes overly didactic (especially pp. 120-124). A weightier problem is the occasional sloppiness with which the panels are drawn. The artistry in Berlin, City of Stones was breathtaking. Here, occasionally, it seems cartoonish--for example, Lutes draws conventionally cartoonish clouds of anger above characters' heads instead of letting the anger showing on their faces tell the story (see, for instance, bottom panel on p. 173).
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By Tea on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An extremely interesting comic of an extremely interesting era.

I'm fascinated with the use of comics for historical fiction because the addition of visuals can do so much towards giving us the flavor of an era, something that's hard to hold in our minds since our own era is so different. It's has the maturity of a novel, but with the added dimension of visuals, and I'm hungry for exactly that type of comic (something you find often in Japan but that is all too rare in this country).

I don't know where the story is (or, stories are) going, but I hope Lutes finishes it. (With its leisurely pace, I'm not sure anyone has that much stamina.) This is one of the few comics in this country that are truly written for adults, without the escapes of fantasy or superheroes or the like. It's ordinary adult life and it's fascinating.
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