Series Wrap-Ups

Series Wrap-Up — Maus Volumes 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman

Series Wrap-up


 

Click on a title read my review:

Maus, I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Maus, II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began


Here are some excerpts from my reviews:

Maus I review excerpts:

Maus… a Pulitzer Prize winner, is a true masterpiece, a unique memoir of a man who endured unimaginable pain and suffering, who escaped death numerous times–and who came out of it deeply scarred but heroically strong. ♦ There is always controversy over Spiegelman’s decision to portray people as animals… Personally, I really liked this depiction. It gave a slight sense of removal from the pure horror of history… ♦ This is a powerful book–a powerful graphic novel… Art Spiegelman created something momentous, a classic piece of writing and illustrations that will go down in time as something truly different and significant.

Maus II review excerpts:

I think I liked this sequel more than the first book, but I will say that Maus II might be even more horrific. It is mainly a story about survival, and the lengths people will go in order to achieve it. ♦ I whizzed through Maus II in a day… I was gripped, I was stunned. I was horrified, saddened, and angered at what human beings are capable of. ♦ While this is a graphic novel, I felt like I did way more reading than looking at the illustrations… There was a big imbalance between my attention to the words and the illustrations. ♦ … The medium of comic strips to deliver a tragic memoir is certainly inventive and memorable…


Maus, I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
by Art Spiegelman
(Maus, #1)

Read my review.

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About the book:

Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon, succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiarity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. It is, as the New York Times Book Review has commented, “a remarkable feat of documentary detail and novelistic vividness…an unfolding literary event.”

Moving back and forth from Poland to Rego Park, New York, Maus tells two powerful stories: the first is Spiegelman’s father’s account of how he and his wife survived Hitler’s Europe, a harrowing tale filled with countless brushes with death, improbable escapes, and the terror of confinement and betrayal. The second is the author’s tortured relationship with his aging father as they try to lead a normal life of minor arguments and passing visits against a backdrop of history too large to pacify. At all levels, this is the ultimate survivor’s tale – and that, too, of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.

Part I of Maus takes Spiegelman’s parents to the gates of Auschwitz and him to the edge of despair. Put aside all your preconceptions. These cats and mice are not Tom and Jerry, but something quite different. This is a new kind of literature.


Maus, II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
by Art Spiegelman
(Maus, #2)

Read my review.

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About the book:

Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman’s Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiararity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive.

This second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek’s harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. At every level this is the ultimate survivor’s tale – and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.


About Art Spiegelman:

Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev on February 15, 1948) is an American cartoonist, editor and comics advocate best known for his graphic novel Maus. His work as co-editor on the comics magazines Arcade and Raw has been influential, and from 1992 he spent a decade as contributing artist for The New Yorker, where he made several high-profile and sometimes controversial covers. He is married to designer and editor Francoise Mouly, and is the father of writer Nadja Spiegelman.


Have you read the Maus graphic novels?
If so, which was your favorite?
If you haven’t, would you be interested in reading the series now?
Comment below letting me know!

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