Monday, June 23, 2008
The Complete Maus...random thoughts
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman.
I finished this book a couple days ago, and to be perfectly honest, I just don't know what to say. There is no way I can do this book justice.
While still fairly new to me, I've now read a handful of graphic novels. But I've never read any like this. This book is powerful, heartbreaking, tragic. It is really book with layers of stories. And frankly, I can't imagine this book being written in any other possible medium than graphic novel form.
As for the layers, most obviously powerful, we have Vladek Spiegelman's life story of his years in Poland before and during World War II. The entirety of the Holocaust is so mind-boggling. It tears one up inside to hear about the camps and the millions who died so horribly. Yet somehow, reading one man's story is somehow even more overwhelming than reading about the Holocaust as a whole. How Vladek and his wife Anja survived through years of fear is hard to comprehend. In fact, at one point, Anja just wants to die and be done with it all. I can so easily see myself feeling the same way. But her husband gives her reason to live and keep fighting. But they do eventually get caught and are taken to Auschwitz, and of course the horror of their lives only increases.
But there is also the story of Art Spiegelman, the author who was born after the war, and his relationship with his father. It's not an easy relationship. Vladek is not an easy man to have a relationship with. In fact, in many ways, he's not an easy man to like. And we are left to question, as his son does, how much of Vladek's personality is shaped by his experiences during the war and the camps, and how much is simply who he would be no matter what. It's a truly moving story in itself, and it makes one think about how incredibly far-reaching the consequences of genocide, of human cruelty are.
If you have also reviewed this book, feel free to leave a link in the comments and I will include it here. Thanks.
Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot
Joy at Thoughts of Joy
Kim at Bold Blue Adventure
Graphic Novels Challenge.