MAUS, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel and illustrated biography by Art Spiegelman, is widely considered to have vaulted the graphic novel to new heights in terms of literary quality, artistic merit, and personal and historical complexity. Using anthropomorphic animal characters (Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats, Americans as dogs, etc.) and a combination of flashbacks, memories, and stories, Spiegelman recounts the experiences of his father Vladek Spiegelman before, during, and after World War II, including his harrowing years in concentration camps. The use of cartoons to describe such appalling events seems problematic, but MAUS brilliantly captures not only the awful weight of history, but also humorous and humane moments from a dark time in human civilization.
This boxed set contains both volumes of Spiegelman's marvelous work:
The first volume, MY FATHER BLEEDS HISTORY, establishes Spiegelman's father in the present as an irritable old man with a bad heart living in Queens, New York, and then deftly moves back in time to shows his youthful romances and eventual marriage to the beautiful Anja. Their happiness, however, is short-lived: they are forced to relocate into the Jewish ghetto while worse dangers loom as the ******' Final Solution grinds into action.
The second volume, AND HERE MY TROUBLES BEGAN, tells of Vladek Spiegelman's entry into Auschwitz, his eventual release, and the difficulty of his assimilation into American culture with the burden of his traumatic experiences weighing on his mind and heart. Ironically, the subtitle comes from something Vladek told Spiegelman AFTER he had escaped the concentration camps--a testament to how the agony of memory can be as cruel as actual experience. The truth of this can be seen in the fate of Anja, Art's mother. Though she had survived, against terrible odds, the ****** regime, she could not survive her own demons, and eventually committed suicide.
- Biography + Autobiography
- Historical, General
- November 1, 1993
- November 1, 1993
- Art Spiegelman