The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.
Inspired by the Holocaust experience of his own parents, cartoonist Art Spiegelman writes and illustrates this Pulitzer Prize wining story of a grown son, also a cartoonist (yes, this one is in the meta / semi-autobio style) who sits down with his father, Vladek Spiegelman, to record Vladek's story with the intent to publish it. Perhaps to soften some of the more violent aspects of Vladek's story, the tale is told anthropomorphically-- Nazi soldiers are portrayed as big, burly cats, Jewish prisoners are mice, and one African-American man is illustrated as a black dog.
Vladek starts with the story of meeting his wife, Anja, and their years together as newlyweds prior to the war. In 1938, Anja develops post-partum depression and is taken to a sanitarium in Czechoslovakia where she experiences, for the first time, full-force anti-Semitism. From there, the war story of Anja and Vladek only gets more painful. Even Anja's millionaire parents couldn't buy her safety. Once captured, Vladek explains that he was able to get some leniency with the Germans because even though his family was Polish, he could speak and write in German, so the Nazis found him useful.
This special anniversary edition features the entire story, Vols 1 & 2, together in one book. As I mentioned before, the story does dip in and out of meta style storytelling. Towards the middle of the book, there is a kind of mini-comic insert where author Art Spiegelman tells the real life tragic story of his own mother's suicide. This book as a whole is not for the faint of heart. There are illustrations of mice with nooses around their necks, descriptions of children being picked up by their legs and swung into brick walls to stop them from crying / screaming (the noise giving away the location of those in hiding). Near the end of Vol. 2 there is also pretty detailed description of the interiors of the gas chambers. This edition also features one color map (the rest of the book is done in black and white) that shows the full layout of the Auschwitz camp.
Blended with the Holocaust theme, Spiegelman also brings in a modern day father-son relationship story of a grown man honestly trying to make the effort to finally, hopefully, understand the father who has always slightly confounded him. There are some tense life truths brought to the table during these scenes but it provided a relatable, poignant layer to the whole experience that I came to really appreciate.
If you're now reading this thinking, "Man, there is no way I could get through anything that dark," Spiegelman might have had such readers in mind because he does offer moments of levity as well. There's the somewhat scary but also creepy-humorous story of Lucia, the woman who went Stage 5 Clinger on Vladek when he became interested in someone else.
Old man Vladek is also dad-funny during his conversations with his son, saying things like "famous like that one guy".... I don't know though, there were a few moments there where old Vladek was coming off as pretty strongly racist himself... so it left me with mixed feelings about him.
I'm glad I finally took the opportunity to experience this epic graphic novel I've heard so much about over the years. The story is a tough one to take, but important to hear. Truthfully though, I'm not sure it's one I see myself revisiting, at least not any time soon.
Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 12, 2018.
Find my review here
I love reading books by this author because they portray human interaction in all its forms. They bring out what most of us would prefer that it remained hidden the darkest corners of her hearts. The stories show how people are capable of kindness in the unlikeliest of situations. But they also show what we’d do when we think no one is watching. With issues like the mistreatment of transgenders, child rape, and oppression of women, these stories hit you like a sledgehammer. You realize there is nothing fictional about her fiction. This story is no different. It deals with the fragmentation of a person’s psyche after returning home from a war. War breaks something inside you, no matter which side you are on.
Really fun book!
I don’t remember much about this one but the fact that it makes fun of everything that has become cliché in epic fantasy.
Sedaris books are funny af.
An old review:
Loved this book!
the book is about people belonging to a city that is the first line of defense for humans. If the werewolves ever tried to take over the human empire, this would be where the first battle would take place. Naturally, the people living in such a place have to be extraordinary-always alert and ready to defend. Add to that a king who would do anything to ensure his people’s survival and warriors who worship him. Could it be more awesome?Yes, it can. The king not only wants to win every war, he also plans to make the werewolves fear him and his warriors. The tricks and maneuvers that the king uses to instill fear in the werewolves are just.. wow! Then there is Cada Varl- the coolest immortal you’ll ever read about. He’s the best and yet he never gloats but just goes on being his rockin’ self! And of course, the 6 Helluvan warriors (poor 7th best warrior) were just that..one helluva adventure!
I got this book for free from Making Connections to read and review:
I started the book and almost gave up right then. Not only did it start slow-but then Shaun of the Dead did too-it also had a lot of jargon and big nerdy words that I couldn’t get at all. And the first mention of Router wasn’t all that, either. Then the book picked up its pace and proved me wrong. Zombies, Pirates, Ninjas, Nerds, Smart-mouthed women..the story had everything! And it was exactly the right length. The humor was just my type and despite some (okay, many) references that I didn’t get, I loved it! Zombie fans, you just can’t miss this one!
Oh, I almost forgot “F**k you, High-C!”
I've started the year off by reading 18 books in January.
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman 5*
Bitch Planet Volume One: Extraordinary Machine by Kellie Sue DeConnick 4*
The Walking Dead: Book 14 by Robert Kirkman 4*
The Warblers by Amber Fallon 4*
Infestation by William Meikle 3.5*
The Conversationalist by Justin Bog 4*
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand 4*
You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana BOTH-5*
City of the Dead by Brian Keene, narrated by Joe Hempel 3.5*
Seriously...I'm Kidding written and narrated by Ellen DeGeneres 3*
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, narrated by Rob McQuay 3*
If I Understood You...written and narrated by Alan Alda 4*
After the End of the World by Jonathan L. Howard 3*
Dark Screams Volume Nine (Anthology) 4*
Hardened Hearts (Anthology) 4.5*
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix 4*
Splatterpunk Fighting Back (An anthology benefiting the fight against cancer) 4.5*
Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:
Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR
1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene
2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon
So, I started reading this book in June, ended up getting caught up in other things, including other readings, and I finally just finished it. I actually had to start again from the beginning, but it was worth it.
This graphic novel is written by Art Spiegelman and based on his father's experiences before and during World War II. The book skips back and forth in time between the adult author speaking to his father and the years around World War II. In the illustrations, the Jewish people are represented by mice, the Germans cats, and the Polish people by pigs. This graphic novel is at times touching, at times horrifying, and at times just sad. A definite must-read for anyone interested in this time period.