librariphile, October 21, 2012 (view all comments by librariphile)
Brilliant. I could not stop thinking about this book while--and after--reading it. One of those reminders of how hard it is to laugh, cry, and struggle to keep reading all at the same time.
wurdnurd, February 18, 2010 (view all comments by wurdnurd)
A powerful testament to the human spirit and the ties that bind, this is one of the first graphic novels to really push the idea of serious story-telling through the visual form. At times touching, hilarious and terrifying, Spiegelman is able to cull from his father’s stories an allegorical retelling of the Holocaust from the perspective of the victims. The use of animals rather than people makes the story more generic and identifiable to those who may not understand the evils of the Holocaust. While I was in college before I was exposed to this great story, I’m thrilled to see that high schoolers are benefiting from Spiegelman’s tale.
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Faizan, July 28, 2009 (view all comments by Faizan)
Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' is a rare commidity in the world of comic books. It tells the story of the writer/artist's father, Vladek Spiegelman, who was a holocaust and Auschwitz survivor during WW2, in the form of a biopic, and how the effects of those days long gone resonated with the resulting generation that continued to live. As an honest portrayal of people/human beings, the book is without parallel. Taking a leaf of its storytelling technique from George Orwell's classic 'Animal Farm', the characters are represented by animal/rodent equivalents. The Polish Jews are Mice (hence the title of the book), the Nazi's Cats, the American's Dogs and so on. The use of this method allows the book to not just show us easy visual distinction (this is a comic book afterall), but also make a metaphor out of these representations (Cats hunt Mice, Dogs chase Cats etc) about the nature of survival in an unjust, unbalanced world. Spiegelman's choice of including even those portions of the auto biographical story where he visits his father at his home in New York to talk to him and convince him to tell his story is, in a word, brilliant. Such a technique would be hard to accomplish in a conventional book with only text, without having to break away from the story being told to inform readers of the change in setting, but here it works just right.
Also commendable is the honesty with which the book is written; none of the fathers broken, imperfect East European English is doctored to sound correct - it is conveyed in its preserved original manner, therefore statements such as "Better to spend your time making drawings, what will bring you some money" are found often, sometimes to amusing effect. The two volume books together offer a terrific, unputdownable read, that is fluid and without complications. They are not without their flaws though - Volume 2, the self righteously titled "And here my troubles began" is indulgent and self aware. It tarnishes the harsh tone of the fathers staggering survival tale and mellows it out with a story arc about the son (Art) coping up with a father (and hence family life) that he never understood but which he was affected by. Visits to therapists, coming to terms with his mothers suicide after they moved to New York etc offer an alternative to the story we wish we would rather not have read, for in the face of tale of human suffering and determination, this warrants little interest. Despite this minor setback late in the tale, the overall book is a unique amalgam of the visual power of comic books and the simplistic abilities of the written word. A graphic novel worthy of its universal praise and a watershed in the world of realistic non-superhero comic books.
Two powerful, definitive chronicles of modern atrocities — the perfect books for anyone who doubts comix have grown up. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus is a staggering personal depiction of the Holocaust, rendered all the stronger by Spiegelman's refusal to lionize the victims (Spiegelman's parents are presented as complex individuals — warts and all — instead of saintly martyrs) and his determination to keep his metaphor (Jews as mice, Germans as cats) from slipping into allegory.
Safe Area Gorazde suggests we didn't learn much from the Holocaust except how to avert our gaze when genocide is being enacted practically under our noses. Sacco's account of the war in Sarajevo is human and heartbreaking. His vividly rendered images put us right there in Gorazde, with an immediacy neither film nor prose can replicate. Nothing can truly atone for the world's complacency in the midst of the Sarajevo massacre, but Sacco's remarkable graphic novel goes a long way toward helping us understand the brutalities that our newspapers glossed over. Recommended byBolton
by Carole R.
by Wall Street Journal,
"The most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust."
by San Francisco Examiner,
"The power of Spiegelman's story lies in the fine detail of the story and the fact that it is related in comic-strip form."
by David Gates, Newsweek,
"[I]t's not just [Spiegelman's] unblinking realism that makes Maus so disconcerting: it's the choice of so stylized a medium....The very artificiality of its surface makes it possible to imagine the reality beneath."
"All too infrequently, a book comes along that's as daring as it is acclaimed. Art Spiegelman's Maus is just such book."
by Umberto Eco,
"Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life's daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world."
A son struggles to come to terms with the horrific story of his parents and their experiences during the Holocaust and in postwar America, in an omnibus edition of Spiegelman's two-part, Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller.
Volumes I & II of this 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrated narrative of Holocaust survival.
by Random House,
At last! Here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker). It now appears as it was originally envisioned by the Author - The Complete Maus.
It is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitlers Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his fathers 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. Vladeks harrowing story of survival is woven into the authors 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 centurys 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.
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