I cannot praise Maus enough, it’s a book that everyone must pick up in their life time! It was my first graphic novel and it has certainly fuelled a passion to read more graphic novels in the future!
Maus #1 follows the experience of Vladek Spiegelman (Art’s father) and his family during the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. The novel demonstrates perfectly the human desire to survive, no matter the punishment that they must endure. Life means more than we realise today, and this novel reminds you how much people are willing to suffer in order to save themselves and their families. Whilst this was written and drawn by his son, it’s a rare first hand account into what life in Nazi Germany was like for the Jews and it also demonstrates the resentment and the hurt that was held by the Jews who survived. The novel ends with Vladek and his wife arriving at Aushwitz after sucessfully hiding from the Germans for a number of years, through bribes and secret hiding places, and the second volume picks up where the first left off.
Maus #2 follows Vladek as he is a prisoner in Auschwitz and all he does to survive and to make sure his wife is taken care of in the camp. Personally, I preferred the second book of the series however, I’ve always had a fascination with the concentration camps. To me, this book is a perfect way to come to terms with the monstrosity that was created by Hitler, and all the evil that took place in the name of a superior race. I understand that the story that Art was told may have been exaggerated for effect or played down in an attempt for Vladek to protect his son, but I still find this series haunting.
The series will leave a deep impact upon any reader, no matter how aware of the goings on in during the Holocaust. Maus is a beautiful series and a must read for everyone.