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February 2016: World War II > The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman - 4.5 Stars

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message 1: by Olivermagnus (new)

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 2027 comments The Complete Maus is a compilation of two graphic novels by Art Spiegelman: My Father Bleeds History as well as And Here My Troubles Began. Maus is a stunningly detailed biographical story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, Anja, trying to survive Hitler’s Europe and the Holocaust. Vladek's son, Artie, presents his story through animals, with Jews represented as mice, Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs and Americans as dogs. The cartoon style , as well as the animal substitutes, allow the reader to approach otherwise heinous situations in a direct way, without the use of realistic and clear cut images.

The first half of the books builds up the tension as we meet Artie and Vladek and see what a complicated relationship they have. The story is written in present tense, with past events told through conversations between Artie and Vladek. The second part of the book focuses on the horrors of Auschwitz. It's a mesmerizing graphic novel that is both chilling and heartbreaking. The result is a page turning story which comes to life through eloquent illustrations. It is a story of survival and of love, one that couldn't be destroyed by the Nazis and one between father and son.

I understand this is the first graphic novel (i.e., comic) to win a Pulitzer Prize. I was so surprised to hear that and realized that I've been prejudiced towards this form of reading material because I didn't see how it could possibly deal with serious issues. If you've never read a graphic novel, but want to experience one that deals with legitimate issues, why not give Maus a try? I'm glad I did.

message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6432 comments Agree it was interesting how serious this form of literature could be . . .unexpected. Glad we both got to this one this month.

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