Maus, II: And Here My Trouble’s Began by Art Spiegelman
Published by Pantheon in September, 1992
Genres: Holocaust, Germany, WWII, Graphic Novel
Pages: 136 : Paperback edition
Source: Borrowed from my local library
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Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman’s Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiararity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive.
This second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek’s harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. At every level this is the ultimate survivor’s tale – and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in my review of the first part of this series, I am completely fascinated with stories about the Holocaust. I think it’s very important to not forget this dark part of our history, and narratives such as this one really help connect to a different (and wider range) of audience.
I like how this book focused not only on Vladek’s time during the concentration camp, Auschwitz, but also his struggle of living in society many years after he had escaped the camps. It really shows that things did not simply end after the war ended, but there were struggles for Jews and other prisoners of war for the rest of their lives. Not only is this incredibly sad, but it’s also very telling that these things simply do not become erased from a person’s mind, but stay there until their very last days.
I’m really sad that this series had to end here, but this is something I have already passed onto my mom who is full German and I may pass it on to my grandparents since they lived during this time in Germany as well. One piece of history connecting to another in a way. Anyways, a really wonderful graphic novel, series, and topic and I highly recommend that people pick this up!