The twofold brilliance of Art Spiegelman's groundbreaking, autobiographical Maus is the graphic novel's lack of sentimentality and Spiegelman's self-portrait as a secondhand Holocaust survivor. The Holocaust is a widely used trope in Jewish American writing and although Spiegelman treats the subject with the compassion and historical sensitivity it merits, Maus avoids the themes of victimization and historical exceptionalism that render much Holocaust literature precious and insulated from the present. Instead, Spiegelman gives his characters the dignity of fully fleshed, complicated personalities and shows — in sometimes painful and unappealing ways — how his parents' Holocaust seeped into his childhood and haunts his being. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.
"All too infrequently, a book comes along that's as daring as it is acclaimed Art Spiegelman Maus is just such book." Esquire
"The most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust." Wall Street Journal
"Making a Holocaust comic book with Jews as mice and Germans as cats would probably strike most people as flippant, if not appalling. [This book] is the opposite of flippant and appalling. To express yourself as an artist, you must find a form that leaves you in control but doesn't leave you by yourself. That's how Maus looks to me a way Mr. Spiegelman found of making art." William Hamilton, Books of the Century, The New York Times Book Review
"Spiegelman is not your usual comic book artist. Anyone who can produce a cartoon on the subject of his own mother's suicide is clearly bent on destroying all notions of what 'comics' should or should not be." The Nation
"This is a complex book. It relates events which young adults, as the future architects of society, must confront, and their interest is sure to be caught by the skillful graphics and suspenseful unfolding of the story." School Library Journal
About the Author
Art Spiegelman is co-founder/editor of Raw, the acclaimed magazine of avant-garde comics and graphics. His work has been published in the New York Times, Playboy, the Village Voice, and many other periodicals, and his drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. Honors he has received for Maus include a Guggenheim fellowship, and nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Mr. Spiegelman lives in New York City with his wife, Francoise Mouly, and their daughter, Nadja.