Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale

Maus 1: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman is a memoir in graphic novel form. It is his family’s story of surviving the Holocaust, an amazing book in two parts, and he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Award for it in 1992.

The story of his parents’ World War II experiences in Poland, their survival at Auschwitz, and the impact of their experiences on his own life, is beautifully told through ongoing conversations with his father. In comic book form with black and white artwork, the stories are told as flashbacks. The Jews are portrayed as mice, and the Germans as cats, and his father’s words, in word bubbles, are quoted exactly from extensive recordings.

I’ve only read a handful of graphic novels, but am fascinated by the art and the storytelling. This book is at the top of the genre, and beautifully done. It was such a moving story, I literally couldn’t put it down, and am now waiting for notice from the library that Volume II is in so I can finish the story.

I heard about this book from Nymeth, who wrote an excellent must-read review of it, and from numerous other book bloggers, so I was anxious to see what it was like. Well … it’s incredible!

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13 thoughts on “Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale

  1. Robin

    J. Danger, it’s not a book that was written specifically for young children, and it’s very powerful emotionally. But I suggest that you read it and decide if it would be good for a family read/project. It’s definitely a book that would need a lot of discussion, even for young teens. I’d be very interested in your response to it, if you do read it.

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  2. Chris

    I’ve been wanting to read this one for so long, Robin and don’t know why I haven’t done so yet. You’ve just bumped it up on the list. I’ll get to it soon. It sounds so incredible and moving.

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  3. Mary

    My local library’s annual Let’s Talk about It series will be focusing on graphic novels this year and of course Maus will be one of the books we will read. You make me look forward to it instead of dreading it as I’ve been doing.

    md

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  4. Kay

    This was great, wasn’t it? Some of my younger co-workers have been schooling me in graphic novels and they insisted I read MAUS. I was fascinated.

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  5. Rhinoa

    I just finished this last night. I hope you read part II as well as it is well worth it. I read Nymeth’s review as well and went bought it after that.

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  6. Robin

    Chris, they really are a must-read. I wish my library had The Complete Maus, because I’m having to wait a little while to read the second book, but it will be well worth the wait. I don’t know why I waited so long to read them, either!

    Petunia, I’ll be interested in hearing what you think about it!

    Nymeth, your review was excellent, and I knew immediately it was something that was important for me to read. I’m anxious to read the second volume.

    Mary, I’ll be very interested in your thoughts on it after you’ve read it and discussed it in your book group! I’m sure there will be a very interesting discussion!

    Kay, yes, it was great! I found it fascinating, too! Did you read The Complete Maus, or just the first volume?

    Rhinoa, I will definitely be reading the second book! Your review this morning was excellent. I should just go ahead and order a copy of The Complete Maus for my library, then I wouldn’t have to wait any longer!

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  7. Tara

    For some reason I’ve never been attracted to graphic novels. But you’ve convinced me; I’m going to see if the library has this. Thank you.

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  8. tanabata

    It is so beautifully drawn, isn’t it? I read Maus I earlier in the week and am now halfway through part II. I’m so glad I’m finally reading it!

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  9. Robin

    Tanabata, I haven’t read part 2 yet, but am anxious to get hold of it. He definitely deserved the special Pulitzer he won for it. It’s just an amazing experience to read it.

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