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Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art…
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Maus: A Survivor's Tale (edition 2003)

by Art Spiegelman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0561261,254 (4.53)1 / 227
Member:twinkley
Title:Maus: A Survivor's Tale
Authors:Art Spiegelman
Info:Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (2003), Paperback, 296 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:graphic novel, non-fiction

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Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman

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English (114)  French (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (126)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
When I read this book in 8th grade, I was mystified. It's not hard to get me into historical novels, but historical graphic novels? I was practically drooling when I got my hands on it. The art was amazing, and the story was better. For me personally, it is The Diary of Anne Frank of graphic novels. ( )
  Wabbajack | Oct 23, 2014 |
The real horror of the Auschwitz concentration camps and the nazi rule captured in a heart rending manner. ( )
  aeromaxtran | Sep 17, 2014 |
I really like the way this book is narrated, it tell the story of one of the survivors from the holocaust. It also shows his relation with his son and the problems that they have through the years, and how the creation of this book put them closer. The narrative is very well done and he manage to show us a terrible episode of humanity. After you finish reading you understand why it won the Pulitzer prize. ( )
  CaroPi | Jun 22, 2014 |
I avoided reading this book for a long time because I thought I’d heard enough stories about surviving the Holocaust. And the idea of reducing it to a story of cats and mice did not seem appealing. Probably I would not have read it had Spiegelman not been the subject of a feature show at the Vancouver Art Gallery where I was intrigued enough to pick up the book. Nevertheless, I found the story compelling at several levels.
As a personal tale of survival, the story that Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, tells his son is extraordinary – the schemes to get through the early years of Nazi-occupied Poland, the trade-offs in the concentration camp and extermination camp, the forced march and train transport, the German death camp, these are hard enough to imagine, but Vladek’s ingenuity in finding ways to gain enough advantage to survive shows his forceful and resourceful personality. The fact that his wife, Anja (whom he portrays as more feeble), survives as well, while all of their family are killed, is even more extraordinary. Discovering the details of how an individual survives under such extreme circumstances is an interesting story in itself.
On another level is the psychological impact of the story on the survivors. We know that Vladek’s strong personality is key to his survival (although we know little about how Anja survives). It’s not surprising that this takes a warped form when his son Art knows him as a demanding, bullying tyrant who scrimps and hoards even after building a secure and comfortable life in the USA. Anja commits suicide when Art is in his 20s, and Vladek seems to have an intolerable relationship with his new wife, Mala. (He seems paranoid and misreads Mala’s motives as venal, which leads one to wonder about his characterization of Anja, too.) Of course, Art finds him impossible to live with, or even visit, but he is drawn to his father out of a sense of loyalty or guilt, and wants to understand Vladek’s story. He presents the story and his reaction to it in an unadorned way as if he understands little beyond the surface, with little comment beyond his own editing of the story and his frustration in trying to capture it.
While initially I felt that the drawing style was simple and crude, the imagery does add a great deal to the story line, making it both concrete and abstract at the same time. The horrors are expressed economically, showing the details without extensive description, but they still require an act of imagination on the part of the reader to make them meaningful. The animal characters are highly arbitrary and sometimes troubling (Poles as pigs? French as frogs?). If they make it easier for some readers to approach the topic, then perhaps that is sufficient justification, but it’s hard to avoid stereotypical characterizations and a fairy-tale-like story.
And while this is an attempt to record a specific historical event, the animal story seems to take it out of any historical context. Certainly there is no attempt to describe the social and political context of Europe in the 1930s and 40s, and this is just a story of one person’s experience and how it marked him. I suppose other books have to describe the context, but in a sense this just becomes a bogey-man story of good animals and bad ones when the story is decontextualized in this way.
This is a worthy and compelling story, but it raises questions about historical story-telling which may be as valuable as the story itself. ( )
  rab1953 | Jun 13, 2014 |
I read the first half and it was amazing. The relstionship between th father and son drove me away from the second half, though. I really found the flashbacks to the father's experiences in WWII to be fascinating, but the current relationship at times seemed more painful than the holocost scenes. Still worth a read, though. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
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Epigraph
"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." Adolf Hitler
Dedication
For Anja
First words
Last one to the schoolyard is a rotten egg.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679406417, Hardcover)

On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, 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).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s 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. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s 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 century’s 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

This book memorializes Spiegelman's father's experience of the Holocaust - it follows his story, frame by frame, from youth and marriage in pre-war Poland to imprisonment in Auschwitz. The 'survivor's tale' that results is stark and unembellished.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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