Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maus, Art Spiegelman

Posted by lea at 4:51 PM
Maus is unlike any other book I've read before. It's a (get this) graphic novel based on the holocaust experience of the author/artist's father using animals instead of humans. Perhaps it's the fact that the holocaust was so unbelievably inhuman(e), or because this is the author/artist's preferred means of drawing, but either way, the animals work. This book is incredibly affecting.

Maus not only delves into the life of the artist's father, Vladek Spiegelman, but it also addresses the relationship between the father and son, and breaks down all the walls between the reader and the storyteller - even the artist's own visits to his therapist are fodder for the book.

To quote from another review of Maus (why double up the workload when it's already been done, eh):
This heartbreaking tale of the author’s father’s survival of the Holocaust is a must read for a number of reasons.
  1. The animals (Mice, cats, dogs, pigs) are so adorably, yet so horrifically metaphoric. Talk about your oxymorons.
  2. It’s not just some Jewish Pole who survived the war. It’s a complex tale about the rocky relationship between a man and his father, and the old world versus the new.
From the theme of guilt (something I find quite recurrent in a lot of Jewish literature…and The Nanny), to the suicide of Art’s mother, there isn’t a moment where you aren’t either holding your breath, expecting the worst, or smiling knowingly and tearing up at Vladek Spiegelman’s backwards English and seemingly backwards logic. It’s a unique tale that stands out from the vast majority of Holocaust stories.

Maus is a Pulitzer Prize-winning must read.


Elena on November 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM said...

Heeyy I was going to be all flattered that you quoted me, before it became clear that you're just LAZY.

Just kidding. :P

I love that it broke down barriers for the reader, and the way he conveyed it (turning the characters into humans wearing mouse masks). Very cool.

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