Maus II by Art Spiegelman

maus2Maus II continues the holocaust survival story of Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek. In this second book, we learn of Vladek and his wife Anja’s struggles in order to survive in the two deadliest concentration camps ran by the Nazis and their lives after. It also shows the impact of these terrible experiences to Vladek, who now is an old man and how this affected Art’s life negatively at the same time. However, this also gave Art a purpose, to write a book about his father’s distressing and heartbreaking story.

I must say that Maus I was a rough read already but Maus II is rougher. Brutal. Heart-wrenching. Vladek related the stories inside the camps, death and torture and how tough and disheartening it makes someone to be there. It’s fascinating to read how Vladek tried his best to survive and help others while inside the camps, at the same time making sure that Anja is keeping well. One of the things that really hit me hard here was when Vladek and Anja learned of each other still alive. They got separated in the camps but knowing, just knowing, that the other is alive brought to me too much emotions. It was kinda difficult getting rid of the heaviness I felt then. It’s just too hard to imagine how difficult it was then for the victims of the holocaust and the war as a whole.

As is with Maus I, the illustrations in Maus II were equally extraordinary, terrifying, very personal and essential. The characters were again portrayed as animals. Very powerful. The storytelling style was as beautiful as the first volume.

It’s hard to put into words how I loved both books so much so I urge you to read it, only then will you understand.

Quotable Quotes:

“No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz.”

” I feel so inadequate trying to reconstruct a reality that was worse than my darkest dreams.”

“People haven’t changed … Maybe they need a newer, bigger Holocaust.”

Rating: 5/5 stars


Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History

maus1As a child, I remember reading my older brother’s collection of comics like X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman and Superman. But I have never ventured on graphic novels before and Maus I is my very first.

Maus I follows Vladek Spiegelman’s life before and during World War II. It is a one-of-a-kind memoir of a man’s suffering and several escape from death. He is deeply scarred as a result of these experiences but nevertheless boldly strong.

One of the things that caught my interest are the characters. Each race is a different kind of animal. The Jews were depicted as mice and Germans as cats. And then there were the “mice” pretending to be pigs (Poles). They put on masks to hide themselves to survive. I really think this was a brilliant idea by the author, Art Spiegelman.

The final chapter was The Mouse Trap where metaphorically, it referred to the deception of Vladek and his wife Anja which lead to their capture and imprisonment in Auschwitz.

This is a powerful and incredible graphic novel, a classic piece of writing and illustrations and I really liked the way of storytelling, it was so natural. Highly recommended!

Quotable Quotes:

“Maybe your father needed to show that he was always right – that he could always survive – because he felt guilty about surviving.”

“Disaster is my muse.”

“To die, it’s easy. But you have to struggle for life.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

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