Monday, 10 October 2011

Maus - Art Spiegelman - Book Review

The Blurb
Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

 It could be really easy to write a review for this. Only a few words would be needed. Namely :- BUY NOW. BEST.BOOK.EVER. Job done.

But you know me and my wafflesome ways. So here is why the above statement is true.

I have not read many, in fact scrap that, any graphic novels before. It is not that I am not a fan -  I have just never really thought about it. Until a good friend of mine thrust this book into my hands and comanded me to read. 

I adore the way this book is brought to life by the illustrations. In a world where Jews are Mice and Nazi's are Cat's I do not think it would translate without the drawings. Each page in all it's minute detail absorbed me. It was like watching a movie and pausing it after every line to examine the background. From the expressions on the characters faces, to a piece of bread, to the stars -  each have their place in making the narrative speak.

Telling the survial story of the author's father, the book focuses not only on Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, but also Art Spiegelman's upbringing and the way his fathers experiences affected their relationship long after the war was over. It flicks between present day (1960's onwards) and the 30's and 40's as Vladek shares his memories.

It is engaging.  It is enraging. It is heartfelt. It is not to be missed.

A 10/10.  Go. Buy. Read.  
(if you do.. and I hope you do.. be sure to get the "complete" book) 


  1. I read this years ago but still think about it, as you say, perfect!x

  2. This is an amazing book. I recommend it to my students as it has such an immediate effect, through the pictures as much as the words.

  3. I have only flicked through this book. It was CONSTANTLY on order to someone or another when I worked at the Bodleian, which meant I never really got the chance to read it properly!

  4. I read Maus I two weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! I had to read it for a history class so I was examining it from a cultural/historical point of view, which was quite an experience. I really love this book, thanks for posting on it! :)

  5. I have never read this, my husband is into graphic novels, he bought this for a friend some years ago and I'm surprised he doesn't have a copy himself, this house is overflowing with books. Must take a look, it's not really a format I like usually, although I did like Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" volumes. Wondered about "Maus" for a while, might wander on over to amazon.

  6. Folks - of you have not read it - then please have a butchers. It is well worth it :)

  7. This has been on my to read list for about ten years. I really must make the effort xx

  8. M - it will take you an afternoon :)

  9. I adore Maus- after hearing much about it, about 3 years ago Mr Mike purchased it for me when I was ill in bed and in need of something to read. AMAZING.
    I think it's about time I read it again really.


I'd love to hear what you think so feel free to comment away!


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