Berlin, Book One

I’ve been on a hold list to get a copy of Berlin, Book One by Jason Lutes for quite some time. For some reason whenever I’m on a long hold for a library book I assume that it will be good, because people want to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed with this book. It tells the story of several people living in Berlin in the 1920s with many hints at the changes that were just starting to appear in German society.

First off, I love reading graphic novels about historic topics. There is something in the way that the artist can use the drawing and panels to convey so much more about the world they are creating. And the characters in this novel are quite interesting. It starts with a young girl moving to Berlin to take art classes and she meets a writer on the train as she arrives. We follow her as she acclimates to big city life. And then we also follow the story of a woman who leaves her husband to stand up for her Communist beliefs.

Even though the stories are told in vignettes that take place over a period of years, we start to get a sense of what is happening in the culture and why people are breaking into factions. And even though it is never explicitly talked about, you see the beginnings of the Nazi movement and it is fairly easy to see where it’s all going.

Reading this during this particular political year was also interesting and gave me more than I was expecting to think about as I read. But then again, that’s why I read, to learn more about this world by seeing different pieces of it.