Hello loyal readers! This week my column is taking a more somber note as I review Maus by Art Spiegelman. Maus is a gripping tale of survival and the ties that bind the past to the present. I felt deeply moved by this work, which cannot be called a graphic novel since the subject matter is all true and feels very real, and thus I felt I’d share it with all of you.
Maus tells the tale of Vladek Speigelman from his roots in 1930s Poland until his death in 1980s America. The story is not told chronologically: it begins with Vladek’s son and author of the work, Art, going to visit his aging father in order to learn more about the Holocaust. Art hopes to find material to entice his readers, and finds more than he bargained for as Vladek weaves a tale of struggle and survival. Once a wealthy textile factory owner married to the daughter of a rich family, Vladek soon sees his fortunes turn sour as he is drafted into the Polish Army at the start of the Second World War. It isn’t long before Vladek becomes a prisoner of the Nazis and is sent to a forced labor camp. He eventually is freed, but this momentary peace is short-lived as the Germans enter his hometown of Sosnowiec and, eventually, capture Vladek and his family and take them to the horrid Auschwitz.