Graphic Content Book Club: "Voices in the Dark" by Ulli Lust
Graphic Content is our reading group exclusively for graphic novels and comics!
This month the club will be discussing Voices in the Dark by Ulli Lust.
Based on a novel by Marcel Beyer, translated by John Brownjohn, translation adapted by Nika Knight, English lettering by Kevin Cannon.
Germany, in the final years of the Third Reich. Hermann Karnau is a sound engineer obsessed with recording the human voice in all its variations--the rantings of leaders, the roar of crowds, the rasp of throats constricted in fear--and indifferent to everything else. Employed by the Nazis, his assignments take him to Party rallies, to the Eastern Front, and into the household of Joseph Goebbels. There he meets Helga, the eldest daughter: bright, good-natured, and just beginning to suspect the horror that surrounds her...
Based on an acclaimed novel by Marcel Beyer, Voices in the Dark is the first fictional graphic novel by Ulli Lust, whose award-winning graphic memoir Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life appeared in English in 2013. It is the story of an unlikely friendship and of a childhood betrayed, a grim parable of naivete and evil, and a vivid, unsettling masterpiece.
"Profound, with characters driven to find truths that ultimately prove devastating. Lust's clean, confident lines richly convey everything from a child's discomfort with a haircut to a dog's eagerness to play to Karnau's sheer bliss from a 'quivering glottis.'...The illustration style and muted color palette (like an aged newspaper) achieve a haunting realism despite cartoonish exaggeration and expressionistic flourishes. Stunning."
-Kirkus, starred review
Ulli Lust's acclaimed graphic memoir Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life was called a "sprawling, meditative graphic novel [that] ripples with exuberance" by The New York Times. Her published work includes pieces of comics journalism as well as erotic-mythological poems, and she runs the online publishing company www.electrocomics.com. She was born in Vienna and lives and works in Berlin.
Marcel Beyer is an award-winning German novelist and poet. His 1995 novel Flughunde, upon which Ulli Lust's graphic novel is based, was translated in 1997 as The Karnau Tapes. He is a visiting professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
John Brownjohn has translated over 160 books, including works by Willy Brandt, Hans Hellmut Kirst, and Walter Moers.
Nika Knight is a writer and translator of German literature, most recently Svenja Leiber's novel The Last Country (2015).
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