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Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art…

Maus: A Survivor's Tale (original 1980; edition 2003)

by Art Spiegelman

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4,5381371,058 (4.52)1 / 242
Title:Maus: A Survivor's Tale
Authors:Art Spiegelman
Info:Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (2003), Paperback, 296 pages
Collections:Read, eBooks

Work details

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman (1980)

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English (121)  French (6)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
I have been a graphic novel reader for a very long time and I always see Maus and have never picked it up. I recently saw it at my local library so I decided to give it a try. I knew going into it that this particular graphic novel causes some controversy and I wanted to read it to know why or make my own decisions.

Maus is the story of a survivor of the Holocaust as told to his son through an extended interview. The book depicts the Jewish as mice, the Polish as pigs, and the Germans as Cats and goes back and forth between a current timeline and what was happening to Vladek (the survivor) during his experiences with the Nazis.

This first installment is really a build up. Artie starts talking to his father about his history and this leads to the overall tale. Vladek in this book is talking about the beginning, being in the war, coming home, having things taken, people going missing, and the events leading up to his stay in Auschwitz. Although, readers don't start to hear the tales of the camps until the 2nd book.

I have to admit that this book is very deep, it is an emotional journey regardless of if it is fiction or non-fiction. Tales of the Holocaust are always emotional. It too was very sad that the author chose to depict the characters as animals - I think that these choices say a lot about how each of the groups were portrayed and I feel there was some insensitivity to those groups. Everyone in Europe was affected by the Holocaust and I think this tale is taking a very complex social dynamic and trying to fit it in a box... 'the cats were bad, the poles were no better'... and there were some that did not stand for the injustices committed.

I think that this is an important piece of graphic novel evolution/ canon - it is a strong message, an emotional event, and I think that Spiegelman wrote it to be as deep as it is. It makes readers think about the horrors, but it can also make readers think about how complex the issues were by being so understated here. ( )
  sszkutak | Sep 28, 2016 |
This famous B.D. (“Comic“ – but nothing ‚comic‘ about it) of Art Spiegelman records dialogs with his father he had in the last 10 years of his life. Vladek Spiegelman (1906-1982), now living in the U.S.A., is recounting his early life as a prosperous polish Jew and how he survived Auschwitz; we learn that Vladek’s wife, A.S.’s mother, also an Auschwitz survivor, killed herself in 1968; we learn that A.S.’s relationship with his father is not easy: how much is this due that surviving Auschwitz marked him for life? How much to the fact that the formative lives of father and son were in every respect different? An incident – Art’s wife gives a lift to a young black man – demonstrates to their despair Vladek’s racisms: how can he who has been persecuted because of racism, be still racist himself? But human nature is not that simple and not without contradictions and it is a fallacy to think that experiencing the horrors of the camps would make you a more compassionate person, sympathetic to the suffering of others – if that would be true then there would be a simple answer to make the Earth a better place!
A.S. gives animal identities to all persons according to their race: Jews are drawn as mice quoting Hitler saying that Jews are not human and a mid 30s German newspaper article claiming Mickey Mouse, that miserable vermin, to be the Jew’s ideal; the Germans become cats, the Polish pigs, the U.S. American dogs, a gipsy (Roma) woman becomes a butterfly, a Frenchman a frog. This stereotypes them (although ‘pigs’ are encountered that are good, others vicious) and removes any emotional response from their faces; at times a light-hearted note is created: Gipsy-butterfly, French-frog.
We get a glimpse of the conditions father and mother lived through but, by being narrated, once removed: perhaps the true horror of the camps can never been communicated (A.S. is aware of this of course). (I-16) ( )
1 vote MeisterPfriem | Feb 17, 2016 |
A great way to tell a very harsh story. I found this unrelenting but very readable. An original way to tell such a story. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
This graphic novel is the story of Spiegelman's father, Vladek, a Polish Jew who lived through World War II. The Jews are drawn as mice, the Germans as cats, and the Poles as pigs. Vladek was able to keep himself and his family out of the concentration camps for a long time, but eventually he was sent to Auschwitz, and later into Germany. After the war, he was able to find his wife and move to Sweden, then the US. Interspersed with Vladek's stories about the war are panels showing Artie's relationship with his father and how he learned his father's history.

This is a really powerful book, and the animals are a great metaphor. Vladek's story of how he survived through his intelligence is really fascinating and admirable. What I really didn't like was how the author portrayed himself, however. In the book it seems like Artie is only using his father to create a masterpiece and doesn't really care about him. He only visits to get more of the story and then can't wait to get away from his father. I realize that Vladek was a difficult person to be around, but that doesn't excuse Artie's behavior. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Art Spiegleman tells the story of his father Valdek and his mother Anja. Both were Poles who eventually ended up in Auschwitz. Art also tells a more current story of dealing with his elderly father who is very cheap and independent. I think the fact that the book is a graphic novel gives a bit of a unique spin on the story. I found Art to be a bit annoying, especially in his fights with his father, but overall a good book. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Art Spiegelmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spiegelman, Artmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Soares, Antonio de MacedoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." Adolf Hitler
For Anja
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Last one to the schoolyard is a rotten egg.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the OMNIBUS edition containing both "Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History" and "Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began".

DO NOT COMBINE with individual editions of Maus I or Maus II!!!
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -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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