First Persepolis and now Maus.I am on a graphic novel spree and I must say I am finding it hard to quit. While reading these war memoirs, I have realized that when it comes to depicting the tragedies of a war, pictures speak a lot more than just words. The visual illustrations make the war seem a lot more personal and intimate.
Maus is a survival tale of a Jewish couple (Vladek Spiegelman and his wife) in Europe during world war 2.Unlike most of Holocaust narratives, this tale has innumerable underlying layers. It is not just a story about holocaust, it’s a tale of fear and courage, of strength and weakness, of love and hate, of kindness and cruelty. I loved how Spiegelman has combined so many elements in a single story-the horrors of the holocaust, complicated dynamics of a father son relationship, the effect holocaust has had on the later generations of the survivors. The story jumps between NYC (present)and Poland(past) which makes it multidimensional. I think it is very difficult to induce humor in war stories without making light of the subject but somehow Spiegelman has pulled it off in his book.
The protagonist’s survival tale can be summed up in one sentence (which I feel is the most powerful dialogue of the book)-“To die, its easy. But you have to struggle for life”. This book can surprise you even if you have read a plethora of holocaust novels and if you haven’t ,then there is no better place to start.