Maus tells the story of a family of Polish Jews who had a normal life, which could be described as a good life, until the arrival of Nazism to the country.
The book tells two stories at the same time: the past, in Poland, during the Second World War, in which the central figure is Vladek Spiegelman, and the present, where his son, Art Spiegelman, is the protagonist, and is trying to get along with his father who, despite the years, is still very beaten by the mental aftermath that the war left him.
The interesting thing about the book is that no people appear, but animals representing the different types of characters. Jews are rats, Nazis are cats and Poles are pigs. The author doesn’t explain much about his choosing.
About the author, Art Spiegelman, is Swedish / American, although in all his biographies he appears as American; long-standing cartoonist and illustrator, but, above all, known for his work Maus.
I do not normally read too many illustrated books, but this one has captivated me and opened me to endless reading possibilities that I had not previously contemplated. It has also shown me a page of the history of humanity, which I think we all know, but shown it from a very personal angle. The important figures of that time in history are never named or shown, everything focuses on the daily life of a normal Polish Jewish family. And that is the most extraordinary. How these incredible and terrible events, which could happen to anyone, happened to the Spiegelman family, and how they survived it. And in the end, (it’s not a spoiler, don’t worry), that there are things we can never forget.
Final comment: The story is for many times raw, and tells things as they are, or as they were. But I think it should be so, since it is events like these that we should not forget. The human being is capable of incredible and wonderful things, but at the same time, capable of terrible things, and it is in us the decide which kind of things we want to do. I thought Maus was an incredible piece of work, and upon finishing it, I immediately realized why it became so famous. Highly recommended.
Book quote: “I’m tired from talking, Richieu, and it’s enough stories for now.”
Keep on reading,
Questions to answer in the comments:
Have you read Maus? Did you like it? Do you agree with my final comments? Have you read any similar books you would recommend, for someone who would like to read more of the same genre? Any other interesting comic book? Please answer all these questions in the comments!