Bite-Sized Book Review: MAUS
And we’re back with Bite-Sized Book Reviews: The Graphic Novel Edition!
In keeping with the recent WWII theme, here’s MAUS, Art Spiegelman’s award-winning book about his father’s experience in Auschwitz, and the five reasons you should go read it.
1. If you’re looking for an honest and heartbreaking retelling of the Holocaust, look no further. Twenty-five years after its publication, MAUS has definitely become one of the must-reads about the Second World War.
2. Spiegelman masterfully mixes in the broad with the intimate, shifting his scope from the war as a whole to his father’s very specific story. It makes the whole retelling feel more real, adding a human element to what most of us only know from our history textbooks.
3. The use of animals as different characters is pure genius. Imagining German Nazis as cats and Jewish people as mice is not only interesting aesthetically, it really lends itself to the sense of otherness, ostracization, and danger felt at the time.
4. Spiegelman himself was recently in Montreal, giving a lecture at Concordia about the evolution and the future of comics. I was lucky enough to attend and was extremely pleased to learn that the man behind one of my favourite graphic novels is just as funny and candid as his work.
5. MetaMAUS, the companion edition, has just been released. It’s a scrapbook of sorts that shows the creation process for MAUS and answers the big questions you might have about the book. It’s a fantastic read and I heartily recommend pairing it with the original work. There’s also a DVD included with snippets of Spiegelman’s father telling his own story.