“Maus” is a common holocaust survivor’s tale. The fact that the style is a graphic novel adds an entirely new dimension to the already provocative plot. The story is being told by a Jewish man from Poland, only it is many years in the future and is being transcribed by his son. Flashbacks comprise most of the story, but the times when the father and son are talking in present time are some of the most eloquent of scenes. Since the story goes back and forth from present day to wartime Poland, we get to see how and in what ways the father is affected by the war and how certain experiences change him forever. One thing that sets this book apart is the fact that the main character has quite a bit of money during the war. I don’t know about you, but most WWII stories I have heard or read about involve individuals of the middle class, who could not be saved by money. The father of this story married into wealth, but even this could not save his family. It is through all his wise dealings and social manipulation that he is barely able to escape the concentration camps. I noticed more in this book the heart-wrenching fact that everyone was a target in this war, that sometimes nothing can save you, even the strengths you have always relied on. Sometimes in life, and in times like that, it all comes down to luck.
“Maus” naturally reads very fast, but you find yourself wanting to slow down to make sure you don’t miss any subtle themes. This is a fantastic book to recommend to the graphic novel lover- it has mystery, love, suspense, all within the boundaries of historical meaning.