Maus I A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Author: Art Spiegelman
Rated S for Stubbornness in the face of survival and suppression.
If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week then you could see what it is, friends!
Here, comes the story of Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, Hitler’s Europe. In this volume, Art details the beginning of when he asked his father for his story and, in the past, his father and mother surviving one of the world’s most horrifying moment in history. From a tortured relationship with his father to understanding and sharing the torture his father went through, this tale breaks boundaries as he takes his parents to the gate of Auschwitz in this volume as he is pushed to the brink of despair.
Maus is 1 of 4 graphic novel series that I’m doing for my New Year’s Resolution.
Where to begin. The darkest moment in world history nearly destroyed multiple cultures and religions, most targeted: the Jewish people. This isn’t an easy story to tell and more so, it’s not his. Still, the grave importance to share it was not lost on me. Remarkable, stunning, and tragic in multiple ways. This wasn’t a story to watch unfold and read word by word with anticipation and thrill and enticement. Instead, it was anxious and breathtakingly startling with each turn of the page.
The artwork is nothing short of brilliant, blunt, and vivid as it intertwined with the emotional dialogue, creating a multi-dimensional story. The black and white tone gives way to its dramatic overtone, bring the words to life even more. The usage of mice-rodents, being caught in the trap of the holocaust-was heartbreaking all the more, highlighting the dreadfulness. This is no cartoon, but a work of raw emotion. No humor to be found.
The relationship between Art and his father is at first dreary and frustrating but as it continued on, I was instantly hooked. The loss of his mother was jarring yet mesmerizing. Tragedy struck like pins to the heart. There’s no true or right way to go about trying to tell somebody else’s terror and horror and trauma. When given the only opportunity we can only share secondhand because we weren’t there and we aren’t that person. As the novel wen to I grew to understand that Vladek was the way he was in part because of what he’d gone through and to expect him to move past such trauma that he went through was ridiculous. I also understand what it’s like to be frustrated with a parent when you don’t see eye-to-eye and the miscommunication is strong while the need for independence is like a plant desperate for CO2.
Powerful. Resonating. A worthwhile read and an eye-full of history from a POV that is unlike anything else. A keeper for sure and I highly reccommend this not only for the history but for the realistic and honest telling of a father/son relationship. Hard-hitting in the heart of hearts.
“No, darling! Dying is easy, but you have to struggle for life.” (Vladek, p. 122)
More to come soon…
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