- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Penguin UK; 1 edition (2 October 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780141014081
- ISBN-13: 978-0141014081
- ASIN: 0141014083
- Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 1.7 x 23.1 cm
- Customer Reviews: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Complete MAUS Paperback – 2 Oct 2003
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The first masterpiece in comic book history (New Yorker)
One of the clichés about the Holocaust is that you can't imagine it - Spiegelman disproves this theory (Independent)
A brutally moving work of art (Boston Globe)
In the tradition of Aesop and Orwell, it serves to shock and impart powerful resonance to a well-documented subject. The artwork is so accomplished, forceful and moving (TimeOut)
Spiegelman has turned the exuberant fantasy of comics inside out by giving us the most incredible fantasy in comics' history: something that actually occurred. Maus is terrifying not for its brutality, but for its tenderness and guilt (New Yorker)
An epic story told in tiny pictures (New York Times)
The most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust (Wall Street Journal)
Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep...when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world and long for the sequel that will return you to it (Umberto Eco)
A remarkable feat of documentary detail and novelistic vividness...an unfolding literary event (New York Times Book Review)
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' (New York Times)
About the Author
Art Spiegelman is a contributing editor and artist for the New Yorker. His drawings and prints have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, which was also nominated for the National Book Critics Award. He lives in New York.
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This story is about the Holocaust, about Jews and their persecution, and about survival and survivors. At least it was meant to be.
But it is not just that. It is something more. It is the story of a father and a son. It chronicles a few months in the lives of the duo as the father nags at all the things and all the people around him, and as the son keeps on getting embarrassed and irritated by his father. That is what this book is: the tale of a father and his son. At least that is how it turns out to be.
And this is the absolute beauty of this book. Given the subject matter, it could have been a dark and dry story, but the Animal Farm of Spiegelman was easy to wade through because it kept me engaged in the horrors depicted without making me feel blue by overshadowing them with the father-son duo's banter.
I've read and watched other works on the second World War and on the Holocaust, and all of them have been difficult to digest because of the harsh realities they describe in their plain manner. Meanwhile, Spiegelman adopted a fresh approach in not only the narrative (father-son dynamic) but also in the medium he chose - that it be a comic, that too with anthropomorphic characters.
As for the publication, the paper is thick, semi-gloss and the print is fine. Font and pictures are clear. Bought for ₹494 from Amazing Buy. No complaints regarding quality and delivery.
Must read as it's definitely a huge lessons learned by humanity.
I can’t describe in words how much impact this book has left upon me. This is a must-read for any human, let alone graphic-novel readers.
I have been a big fan of comics while growing up (who isn’t?”) and I thought shifting to the non graphic medium was more mature.Well,I was wrong, obviously.The books of Alan Moore and Frank Miller have showed me that Comics were a spectacular medium when it wanted to be. The Japanese ‘Junji Ito’ was a revelation and now I am constantly digging Graphic novels.
Maus is drawn in black and white and the tone fits the story so well. By making the protagonists and antagonists faceless (well, they have faces but he has ingenuously drawn Jews as mice and Germans as cat) he tells us that everything becomes non personal and generic during the time of war, especially the pain, but it is not so. Every guy is fighting his or her battle through the war and each guy’s suffering has its own shades of blue.
Pain is looming as a pallid gloom all over them, omnipresent and stifling. It is like there is a thick towel draped over their faces. They have to breathe and see through it and the towel stinks after some time.
Read Maus to understand how a war feels like,how hate feels like,how sectarianism feels like,how it feels like to fear for your life every second of the day.
A great book in short.
Told through tiny squares on a page, Maus creeps into the recesses of your mind and your heart and when it is finally over, you find yourself more than what you were before. It has taken its place as one of my favourite and dearest stories ever. I hope everyone who reads, experiences this monumental piece of work at least once in his or her life. It is an epic story, told on such a small scale that one forgets that one watches history unfold before them in a manner that was hitherto unknown.
Read this, please. Just read it and later on, find yourself changed.
Top international reviews
As someone who loves learning about history, I was always going to like this graphic memoir. And while I’m on a bid to introduce myself to more non fiction, a graphic memoir was the perfect way to start that.
So this is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, drawn through his son, Art Spiegelman. And that one point alone – how it was done – was the main crux of my enjoyment. Because it wasn’t just the story of war. Oh no. Instead of simply drawing what his father said, Art Spiegelman actually drew the entire process. He drew himself visiting his dad, coaxing him into telling more of his story. He drew what he was like in later life, a small snapshot into how all this affected him long-term. And through that, I found myself feeling like I was sat right in front of Vladek Spiegelman – him in a chair, myself cross legged on the floor – while he told his story. How a graphic memoir can do that, with so little words in comparison to novels, is beyond me. But I loved it.
And then we have the art. Completely black and white with quite a sketchy look, each page is packed with drawings. It can look a bit overwhelming at first, but I personally think it suits the story really well. There’s the metaphor too – the Nazis are drawn as cats, terrorising the mice (ding ding ding, we have the title: Maus). Such a simple way to explain things, in a time when things weren’t simple at all. Suitable for a graphic memoir though, since there’s not really much leverage in explaining who each person on the page is and which “side” they belong to.
I expected to get emotional. But… I didn’t. I have a feeling that’s partly to do with the fact it’s a graphic memoir, and not as much time is spent describing how horrendous everything is. But also because of Vladek Spiegelman himself. It’s his story, yet as he tells it, he doesn’t seem to reveal many emotions. He just…tells the story. Here are the facts. This is what happened.
Though I might have felt more had a bit more been revealed about Art Spiegelman’s mother. In the beginning, it’s mentioned that she committed suicide after the war, and while it does go into it a little bit, nothing about that is really explained. Granted, that may be because they don’t know much themselves. But still. She’s mentioned so often throughout the memoir – as you would expect – but she herself doesn’t seem to be in it much. I’d have liked to see more of her.
As hard as they try, books will never be able to portray these events accurately. Nothing will. There’s a nod to that even in this book. But with things like these, though I (luckily) may not be able to imagine such ongoing hunger, such heartbreak, the pain and suffering…I might be able to understand a bit more. I can read books like this and know that at least their story isn’t going untold. At least I’ll be here, remembering for them. And that is the least I can do.
They say that a picture paints a thousand words, but master cartoonist and artist Art Spiegelman has drawn a lifetime. Tracing his father's experiences of the Holocaust, Spiegelman delivers something intensely powerful and emotional.
It may seem insensitive to portray the horrors of the Holocaust in a cartoon form, but there's actually something deeply immersive about this format. Like all good art should, the medium of this story pulls you into the experience; opening up the pores of our soul to receive the full potency of this stories message. With each frame of this cartoon you sense the foreboding danger, the growing dehumanisation, and the shock of what transpired.
The gas chambers and incinerators of Auschwitz, the forced labour, the street hangings, the disenfranchisement of homes and businesses and basic human dignity; the demonisation, scapegoating, and media-induced prejudice; the public beatings; the survivalist-led betrayal from neighbour and friends and countrymen; the slow and corrosive stripping away of personal identity which culminated in being reduced to a number...maybe if we could go back and witness these things we would turn ourselves away and refuse to reflect on the horror. But we need to see, and we need to learn, and *Maus*, alongside the stories of other survivors, helps us to do this.
The Holocaust is something we should never forget. Especially in today's world, where we find ourselves once more giving our ears and voices to the growing tide of stigmatisation, fear-mongering, nationalism and the dehumanisation of certain people groups. We may feel our words and opinions have no effect, that they're 'innocent' or 'harmless', but history shows how dangerously ignorant such thinking can be and how catastrophic the consequences are.
--Tristan Sherwin, author of *Love: Expressed*.
The first and most important thing to make note of is that this is a completely true story. It isn’t a piece of fiction based in the truth of Auschwitz, it is a true account of Art Spiegelman’s father’s life during World War II. It is a heavy and intense read, but completely incredible.
The second important thing you need to know about this book is that it is a graphic novel. It is masterfully drawn, with plenty of narration which makes it easy to read even if you’re not a regular graphic novel reader. The metaphorical representation of people is a massive part of this book. Jews are drawn as mice, Nazis as cats, the Allies as dogs, and Poles as pigs. This is an incredibly effective commentary on stereotypes, and highlights the absurdity of dividing people by nationality.
The brutal honesty about life as a Jew during the Nazi occupation is shocking and horrific, but truly, truly fascinating. On another level, the relationship between Art and Vladek is also explored, and it really shows how the children of survivors can be so affected by the experience of their parents.
Maus isn’t an easy or pleasant read by any means, but it is powerful and it’s essential. If you’re into graphic novels, you MUST read this book. If you’re into historical accounts and memoirs, you MUST read this book. If you read anything at all, you MUST read this book.
His father was a Jewish man living in Nazi occupied Poland and not only does the book highlight the atrocities committed by the nazis towards the Jewish people; it recounts what life was actually like. How people behaved in response to the Nazi threat but also the variety of peoples responses to such a threat. Its deeply upsetting but also an interesting first hand point of view journey through and beyond such an awful experience . It makes you appreciate everything a lot more and hope with a stronger intensity that the world will never allow such a horrific thing to happen again.
The drawings were simple yet very effective and the characters being depicted as Mice, Cats and pigs was a very clever touch.
There are no human faces in this book. The Jews are depicted as mice, the Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs, Americans as dogs etc.
There is a split perception of mice as animals. On one side they are portrayed in much of children’s literature are cute and non-threatening, and on the other as vermin to be exterminated. Above all, they are powerless in the presence of larger, more predatory animals (such as cats). Mice being slaughtered evokes sympathy in a way that the extermination of other ‘vermin’, such as rats, never could.
When the story begins, Vladek is a successful businessman in Poland, courting Anja. Slowly the rumours of anti-Jewish attacks by Nazis in Germany and Czechoslovakia reach them. At first it is seen as a problem elsewhere, but bit by bit, the danger that the Polish Jewish community is in becomes apparent – but it is too late. The story deals with the attempts at hiding and sending of children to supposedly safer places, and then the rounding up of the Jews and the deportations to Auschwitz. Vladek’s life in Auschwitz and then later in Dachau is told, along with the luck and ingenuity that enabled Vladek to stay alive, when so many around him perished.
Vladek is not a sympathetic character. While he may have physically survived the Holocaust, his personality has been forever damaged by his experiences. He is unable to have a close relationship with his son or his second wife. Instincts that enabled him to survive, form a barrier between himself and everyone around him. In some ways, his mind seems to have never left Dachau. Because of this, the trauma of the Holocaust lasts well beyond the 1940s, and impacts directly on the offspring – and further generations – of the survivors. Art wants to understand the difficult man who is his father, and writing/drawing this book is his way of doing that.
This is not a book to enjoy reading. It is an important witness account, that needs to be documented and read. The black and white drawings (colour only on the cover) underline the seriousness of the content and the desperation of the world at that time, and have a visceral impact on the reader.
I highly recommend this book – to everyone.
Vladek Spiegelman's story is not dissimilar to that of many millions who suffered, but his son's retelling here is moving, honest and even funny. Art's frustration with his ageing father's penny-pinching, for example, is humorously drawn even while Art is questioning whether this extreme behaviour is caused by experience of the ghettos and Auschwitz. It might seem obvious to us, but he knew many other veterans of the camps who were different. Right from the beginning we are told that Anja committed suicide in 1968, while her student son was in the midst of a mental breakdown, and while this isn't further explored, it's as much a book about the far-reaching, long-term consequences of genocide as it is about what life was like in occupied Poland.
The final and obvious thing to say is that the characters are all depicted 'Animal Farm' style as creatures, denoted by race as mice (Jewish), cats (Germans), pigs (Polish), frogs (French), dogs (Americans) and moose (Swedish). (There are a couple of fish in there too but I wasn't sure who they represented - Canadians?!) This has raised objections from some quarters, about the connotations of portraying various nationalities as these particular creatures, but for me it was clear that Spiegelman's objectives were to highlight the absurdities of racial discrimination - there are points in the story where Vladek is seen to wear a pig mask, pretending to be Polish, and Art's French wife Francoise asks whether she will be drawn as a frog or a mouse. Needless to say there are 'good' and 'bad' characters depicted among all the races and what ultimately emerges is a portrait of a war not of race against race, but of humanity fighting tyranny, bigotry and despotism in the worst circumstances imaginable.
Why not just use people? Real people. I think it would have worked just as well in the cartoon format. It's the cartoon format that gets it over more so than the animal depiction of the characters for me.
The book is brilliant. He has made a very complex, harrowing, dark, brutal time in history easier to read about, understand and visualize. My 13 year old son read this as part of his English homework over the Christmas break. There is no way he'd have read it as a solid historical piece. In this format, he read it, visualized it and it set him thinking for himself. He enjoyed it (if that's an appropriate term to use for a book like this). I'm glad he read it too.
I would recommend this as a teaching aid for young teens who don't like to read books! If there were more books like this in my school I'm sure people would have taken more interest.
Glad I did.
I found it particularly powerful how no effort was made to airbrush the personalities of any of the family, how they are all clearly human and flawed. The effort to avoid portraying survivors as angels, merely humans who have experienced an unbelievable atrocity was clear and effective.
I found the metaphors slightly uncomfortable (not just Nazis but all germans are cats, all non jewish poles are pigs, jews are mice, etc...), as this allowed no distinction for individuals (the polish woman who helped hide Vladek and Anja was a pig, in the same way that those who formed lynch mobs were pigs). The fact that this is so uncomfortable mirrors the fact that all jews are mice, irrelevant of also being polish or german. I also appreciated the humour at the end when the Swedes are mooses (meese?)!
As all survivor stories, this is extra-ordinary in it's detail. The refusal to gloss over emotions and motivations results in a very personal tale, and an admirable tribute to Anja and Vladek Spiegelman.
There is much to admire in this book, but ultimately I didn't find it as involving as I'd expected, hence the four stars.
This is a book more for the author to expel his own demons than it is for the reader, but it tells a good story very well, and makes good use of the medium.
A critic suggected that Spiegelman can't draw, but unless DaVinci has an e-mail account wherever he is, then few are able to criticise the drawings, which are, I think, marvellous. The harsh black and white drawings elevate the stoy and ensure it jars the reader repeatedly, not letting go.
It's interesting that perhaps the most emotionally involving part of the book for me is the effect his experiences had on Spiegelman's father post-war, something we don't get exposed to so often, and in itself making the book important.
The caricatures of different races by means of animals must be difficult if your race is represented, but it is at the very least a way of ensuring we know who's who in a medium where it would often be less than obvious otherwise, and a number of the caricatures have historical or folk reference.
Everyone knows- or thinks they know- the story of the holocaust, but this did open up a few corners I wasn't previously aware of.
One could link this to Animal Farm, in making a complex story accessible, but I don't think that's entirely fair, as Spiegelman covers the story only factually, and the animal characters are there for very different reasons than in Animal Farm, where the characteristics aim to be functional and social more than racial. On top of that, I read Animal Farm to my children when they were very young, but I wouldn't necessarily offer them this; there are better introductions to the horror.
At the end, this is a fine work, skilfully executed; and highly recommended.
A true diamond in the rough for graphic novel and true story lovers alike.
I found it very easy to identify with the author and found myself thinking of my older generation family members.
I wouldn't say this was educational as such but I wish I had read this when I was learning about WW2.
In the unflinching pages of "Maus", Jews betray Jews. Jews steal from Jews. Jews discriminate against non-Jews. I sat up with a shock when Vladek, the tale's central holocaust survivor, displays unbelievable racism towards a black man. Having lived through unspeakable persecution, he speaks of African-Americans in the same way that a Nazi would speak of a Jew. Also, in his old age, Vladek has come to resemble the Nazi stereotype of the "miserly old Jew". This adds incredible power and depth to this already complex story, throwing up countless questions on morality, racial identity and the grey area between good and evil.
It is a staggeringly brave book and its courage has sealed its success. I only wish more artists out would get some guts and show the world some work that really matters.
It is an awful, horrible book that fully brings home the impact of the Holocaust through the use of the Cats as the Germans and the Mice as the Jews....whilst that may sound disrespectful and distasteful for the gravity of the subject, somehow, it utterly works.
The comic style adds a childlike stance to the story, (whilst it is not a childs story) and it somehow clearly exposes the cruelty espoused by the Germans for what it was - an utterly unfair and almost childish fascination with blaming the Jews for their own failings. This impacted me like almost no other book before and since...perhaps it is the fact it is presented like a comic that grips you easily and then hammers home like a sucker punch to the gut with the awful subject matter.
An all-time masterpiece, in every sense. Disturbing but absolutely captivating, read it.