Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Ar. Spiegleman (1991. Pantheon. ISBN 978-0-679-72977-8)

I read Spiegelman’s first installment of his graphic novel about the Holocaust a month or so ago on the plane back from Key West. I immediately ordered the second part of the story. I am glad I did.

The artwork is tremendously moving despite this story being told through cartoons. Maybe that’s too simplistic: the entirety of this story is truly one of the first bestselling graphic novels of all time so labeling the work “cartoons” doesn’t capture the breadth and depth of the story or the depictions of Spiegelman’s struggles with his Jewish heritage, his parents’ captivity at Auschwitz, his mother’s suicide, his ghost brother’s murder in the camps, and the complex relationship the author had with his father.

Read together, the two volumes constituting Maus bring us into the most intimate of discussions between the author and his father and other members of his family with respect to his father’s zany, near stereotypical Jewish fetishism regarding plenty, money, saving, scarcity, and the like. When the last chapter is behind them, readers seventy to eighty years removed from the events depicted in this work will undoubtedly understand and appreciate the ugliness and horror of Nazi Germany conveyed through graphic artwork depicting the murdering of mice by cats in a manner that transcends time.

Stunning. Something every middle school and high school civics class should be required to dive into, analyze, and appreciate.

5 stars out of 5.

Peace.

Mark

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