cover image Voices in the Dark

Voices in the Dark

Ulli Lust and Marcel Beyer, trans. from the German by Nika Knight. New York Review Comics, $29.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-68137105-4

Following her award-winning graphic novel memoir Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life, Lust adapts The Karnau Tapes, Beyer’s dense, dark novel set during the collapse of the Third Reich. She is more than up to the task, transmuting the material with visual imagination and insight. The narrative switches between two small cogs in the relentless machinery of the Reich: Hermann Karnau, a sound engineer who progresses from arranging the speakers at Nazi rallies to conducting bizarre aural experiments on concentration camp prisoners, and Helga, the eldest daughter of Joseph Goebbels, who, along with her siblings, is destined to be murdered by her parents in Hitler’s bunker. Lust’s loose, deceptively simple art, tinted in washes of faded color, creates a mood of deepening claustrophobia as the complicit Karnau and the innocent Helga descend toward the same fate. It’s a rare adaptation that, rather than simply transcribing the source material, transcends it. (Oct.)