The Complete Maus

The Complete Maus

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Maus II - the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler's Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival - and how the...

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Title:The Complete Maus
Author:Art Spiegelman
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Edition Language:English

The Complete Maus Reviews

  • Lisa

    oh my god.

    This burrowed it's way deep into my heart. This made me feel so much. This was an

    , not just a "read". This was real and I can't even explain how this affected me because it was the most emotional thing I've ever read. Not made-up emotion. This was REAL and it affected me.

    Vladek. He reminded me of my Grandfather, a little. I loved my Grandfather and I loved Vladek. His story, as told to his son Art Spiegelman, was one of the most powerful stories I've ever experienced.

    This w

    oh my god.

    This burrowed it's way deep into my heart. This made me feel so much. This was an

    , not just a "read". This was real and I can't even explain how this affected me because it was the most emotional thing I've ever read. Not made-up emotion. This was REAL and it affected me.

    Vladek. He reminded me of my Grandfather, a little. I loved my Grandfather and I loved Vladek. His story, as told to his son Art Spiegelman, was one of the most powerful stories I've ever experienced.

    This was a story about survival and deep love. The love shown between Vladek and Anja mesmerized me and broke my heart seeing them go through so much cruelty and suffering.

    The Complete Maus are two graphic novels combined to form the story of Vladek Spiegelman's life during World War 2. It is drawn masterfully in beautiful black and white. Jewish people are drawn as mice, German people are drawn as cats, Polish people are drawn as pigs and people from the U.S are drawn as dogs.

    From Wikipedia:

    One of my favourite parts of Maus was the relationship between Art and Vladek. Art has a lot of guilt over having such an easy life when his parents went through a hell he couldn't even imagine. Even so, Art and Vladek have a pretty normal father/son relationship. I felt so bad for Vladek at times with the way Art would treat him but it was a normal father/son relationship in the way that sons don't always treat their fathers the best.

    Despite this, you could feel the love radiating from the pages. The love Art and Vladek had for each other. I loved the little funny moments in the novel, like when Vladek throws out Art's coat and gives him a "warm" coat, which Art hates because it isn't fashionable. Or when Vladek goes to the supermarket to return an open box of cereal, along with other used/opened groceries.

    Just the way Art draws his disapproving father made me smile. It was done with such warmth and love. Art's father was definitely a very funny man, even if he didn't mean to be. I loved Vladek so much and in the last few pages, you are shown a picture of Vladek during World War 2. At that moment, I had to stop myself from crying because after reading his incredible story, I saw a picture of the actual Vladek. And it instantly broke my heart. I felt so much love for him, it was unreal.

    This story is not a pleasant one but it is incredible. It's not easy to read at times but it's essential. It's about so many things. If you read this and it doesn't affect you, you are heartless.

    I recommend it to everyone. Seriously. Even if graphic novels aren't usually your thing. This is my favourite graphic novel now. There is no way that can change now. This was unforgettable and deeply moving. I LOVED it with all my heart and can't even properly express the love.

    Read it. Don't miss out on something so emotional and powerful. I hope you love it like I do.

  • Steve

    It didn’t dawn on me until later that this brilliant piece of graphic artistry and fiction is actually a very clever allegory. On the face of it, we’re led to believe that it’s a story of the terrible suffering perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews in Poland and throughout Europe. But if you scratch beneath the surface, I think you’ll find that this particular holocaust story was made to symbolize something more pervasive and endemic. I speak of the horrific violence that persists to this da

    It didn’t dawn on me until later that this brilliant piece of graphic artistry and fiction is actually a very clever allegory. On the face of it, we’re led to believe that it’s a story of the terrible suffering perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews in Poland and throughout Europe. But if you scratch beneath the surface, I think you’ll find that this particular holocaust story was made to symbolize something more pervasive and endemic. I speak of the horrific violence that persists to this day; that inflicted by cats on defenseless mice. Perhaps the most obvious clue that this is, in truth, the intended theme lies in the title itself:

    . For those of you unfamiliar with German, this is their word for mouse. Beyond that, when you look carefully at the drawings, you see that the goose-steppers have distinctly feline features, while the persecuted Jews in the ghettos and camps have rodent-like proboscides and disproportionately small eyes.

    Cat on mouse violence is so old and pervasive that, in a way, we’ve become desensitized to it. Countless depictions of it in the arts have made it a stale, clichéd topic; almost cartoonish at times. That’s why I thought it was particularly effective to tell the story allegorically. When seen through the lens of the Jewish experience, and with Spiegelman’s masterstroke of personalizing the story by laying bare the difficult relationship he had with his father (the survivor), the residuum of cat brutality that can literally tear mice families apart is brought home to us in a very different way.

    Original: Mar 9, 2012

    ------------------------

    Addendum: Aug 23, 2013

    This still ranks as my top graphic novel of all time, but I just finished Chris Ware's

    which gives it a pretty good run for the money. The suffering in that one may not be as extreme, but it's every bit as real.

  • Orsodimondo

    Un bellissimo fumetto?

    Uno splendido romanzo?

    E perché non un ottimo film?

    (In fondo le dimensioni delle vignette di Spiegelman fanno davvero venire in mente i fotogrammi di un film 35 mm).

    I nazisti descrivevano gli ebrei come immondi parassiti, portatori di peste e corruzione, che invadono l’Europa (qualcuno adesso prova a usare la stessa immagine per chi arriva d’oltremare): Spiegelman disegna gli ebrei come topi, i nazisti come gatti, i polacchi come maiali.

    Anim

    Un bellissimo fumetto?

    Uno splendido romanzo?

    E perché non un ottimo film?

    (In fondo le dimensioni delle vignette di Spiegelman fanno davvero venire in mente i fotogrammi di un film 35 mm).

    I nazisti descrivevano gli ebrei come immondi parassiti, portatori di peste e corruzione, che invadono l’Europa (qualcuno adesso prova a usare la stessa immagine per chi arriva d’oltremare): Spiegelman disegna gli ebrei come topi, i nazisti come gatti, i polacchi come maiali.

    Animali parlanti per esprimere condizioni umane profonde difficili da esprimere altrimenti (Esopo, Fedro, La Fontaine). E perché no, anche il Mickey Mouse disneyano.

    Spiegelman figlio intervista Spiegelman padre sulla Shoah (la madre è morta suicida, il fratello maggiore è morto avvelenato dalla zia, anche lei suicida, per evitargli l’orrore del campo di sterminio).

    Il racconto del padre è storia nota e stranota?

    A me sembra di sentirla per la prima volta, l'approccio di Spiegelman è unico e irripetibile.

    Una storia straziante?

    Sì, ma anche tanto tenera, romantica.

    Uomini topi più umani degli umani.

    In ogni caso, è una storia che bisogna continuare a raccontare, che non bisogna dimenticare.

    Che sorpresa la parte moderna, che regalo.

    Un rapporto padre e figlio che nella sua peculiarità è tuttavia paradigmatico.

    A Spiegelman è stato chiesto se non gli sembrava di cattivo gusto mettere in fumetti la tragedia dell’Olocausto. La sua risposta è stata: Di cattivo gusto è Auschwitz.

  • Leonard Gaya

    The young Adolf Hitler applied twice for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and each time was rejected. One may dream: had he been successful, he might have had a different fate, and, as a result, Europe’s history might have taken some other shape… Sixty years later, on another continent, the young Art Spiegelman applied to the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and passed the exam. His parents, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, were two Jews from Poland who survived through the

    The young Adolf Hitler applied twice for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and each time was rejected. One may dream: had he been successful, he might have had a different fate, and, as a result, Europe’s history might have taken some other shape… Sixty years later, on another continent, the young Art Spiegelman applied to the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and passed the exam. His parents, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, were two Jews from Poland who survived through the Nazi ghetto of Sosnowiec and the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

    , a massive graphic novel, thirteen years in the making, depicts the complicated relationship between Art and his father, the very process of creating

    , and, in an interlocked way, Vladek’s experience, living in Poland during the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

    Back in those days, Hollywood was producing its most celebrated films, and Mickey Mouse had become the cutest little mascot on the silver screen. At that very moment, the Allied troops carried movie cameras into the concentration camps. The films that remain from that time —the ones that were shown during the Nuremberg trial— are tough to watch, haunting, almost impossible to put into words. Art Spiegelman has managed to blend both pictures (Disney and the Red Army file footage) poetically, through flat, condensed and straightforward drawings. His old father, a bit soft in the head and speaking in a funny broken English, provides a deeply personal, honest, at times slightly Kafkaesque or Chaplinesque account of these dreadful years, of that constant fear and deprivation, so that we could make some sense of this inhuman, world-changing experience.

    There’s a quote by

    somewhere in this book: "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness”. This visual masterpiece is a refutation of this sentence. And it has left me both moved and dumbfounded.

  • Alejandro

    While it took long time of finally reading

    ,...

    ...I knew that it was a graphic novel referring about the Jew Holocaust, but using mice (Jews) and cats (Nazis) as the characters,...

    ...and even while I was sure that it will be a crude telling,

    While it took long time of finally reading

    ,...

    ...I knew that it was a graphic novel referring about the Jew Holocaust, but using mice (Jews) and cats (Nazis) as the characters,...

    ...and even while I was sure that it will be a crude telling, I didn’t expect that the only difference between “reality” and this graphic novel would be the choice of using “animals” as the characters in the story.

    I mean, while I agree that Jew Holocaust isn’t a humorous matter, I supposed that it would be some “imaginative” use of places, tools, terms, etc… taking in account that the story was full of mice, cats and even pigs (with some frog or dog, here and there).

    Actually, I don’t know why using “animals” as characters if everything else in the story will be keep as it happened. Even there are some odd moments of a “female mouse person” scared due the presence of regular rats.

    Again, the Jew Holocaust is not a matter to take in comical way, but then, I think that the graphic novel could plainly use human beings (not necessarily too realistic, some cartoon style could work) and the graphic novel will be the same as good, the same as relevant.

    You know, as in the movie

    where the horrors of the Holocaust are there, but still there is space for some humorous moments, that they help as tension relief without meaning any disrespect to the tragic historic event.

    However, definitely the graphic format of this story makes possible for readers to be witness from the begining until the end (and even further) of the whole tragic and cruel process of what Jews endured (and not many were able to get out alive from it) during the World War II.

    A titanic graphic story constructed during years of artistic effort to show, with detail and authenticity, one of the darkest episodes of human history.

    The success of

    obviously can tied to the reason of being a Jew Holocaust’s story, and almost any suc story receive a wide positive acceptance, but I think that what makes different

    from many of similar stories is its bold honesty.

    Here, you won’t have a partial view of the tragic event or spotless characters.

    Obviously Nazis and Polish collaborators/sympathizers are shown doing their evil stuff,

    also you will watch how Jews behaved with their own, robbing food from their fellow people, not doing any favor unless get paid with something (gold, food, cigarrettes, etc…), true, it was an extreme situation, but usually movies and other books don’t hesitate to show Nazi’s inhuman actions, but you have to realize that those were prisons, and life in prisons is tough and people will lose any humanity from them in the urge to survive.

    Also, Art Spiegelman, the author, was bold showing how hard was to live with his father, Vladek Spielgelman (the main character in the Holocaust parts), Vladek wasn’t a saint (and after all, how many of us really is?) with not only crazy habits but even racist thinking against afro-american people. Art Spiegelman is a character in the story too, and while he is a whole better as person than his father, he doesn’t portrait himself as a saint and you can appreciate how even at some moments, he does some kinda unfair actions, since after all, he is human too. His family is as disfunctional as others, being Holocaust’s survivors didn’t turn it magically into “Norman Rockwell paintings”.

    Anybody can create perfect heroes, only true writers are able to show the dark moments of his/her own family, in the middle of the storytelling of a book.

    In this way, with boldness and courage,

    exposes us with a harsh truth: Survivors from a war aren’t necessarily good people, saved by their faith or spared due the purity of their souls. No. Survivors from a war (in most cases) is just because plain luck. Even some survivors got such bad luck of dying after the war ended and by non-military personnel.

    War is a crazy thing (any war) and if you try to get some logic out of it,...

    ...you will end as crazy as it.

  • Councillor

    Until just a few weeks ago, the only reason for why I read graphic novels now and then was because of people's constant recommendations about the beauty and the value of those kinds of books. I will be honest; I am guilty of never believing those words. Most likely did I read graphic novels which didn't suit my personal tastes, but Art Spiegelman was capable of shattering my expectations and completely stunning me with the

    of his writing and his illustrations.

    But let's start at the beginning

    Until just a few weeks ago, the only reason for why I read graphic novels now and then was because of people's constant recommendations about the beauty and the value of those kinds of books. I will be honest; I am guilty of never believing those words. Most likely did I read graphic novels which didn't suit my personal tastes, but Art Spiegelman was capable of shattering my expectations and completely stunning me with the

    of his writing and his illustrations.

    But let's start at the beginning.

    is a collection of two graphic novels with autobiographical background about the author, Art Spiegelman, and his father's recollections about his experiences in the Second World War. Spiegelman constantly switches between present and past, between the time when he writes down what his father tells him and the time when all the horrible events in the concentration camps took place. But he doesn't only include information about his father Vladek Spiegelman's tale of survival; the personal and very conflicted relationship between Art and Vladek also turns out to be a central part of the story, including controversy about Vladek's second wife and Art's personal approach to the success he had as an author when the first installment in his series of graphic novels was published.

    Obviously, memoirs or autobiographies always include potential to let their author shine in a bright light, to let them appear heroic and exemplary. You have to rely on what the author tells you about himself and the people surrounding him, on which layers of his own character he presents. Art Spiegelman did so in a very convincing way, pointing out not only the horrible crimes which were committed during the Nazi period, but also the flaws he and his father had themselves, as human beings with all their faults and mistakes. Art and his father appear in such a realistic way that you can't help but care for them; something which never happened to me before in a book with autobiographical content. Of course, some parts of the novels were shocking, which you need to expect before reading something about such an important subject. Feelings of despair and fear overshadowed Vladek Spiegelman's recollections of his experiences during the Second World War, from his family's decline and his marriage to his transport to Auschwitz.

    Perhaps the most memorable thing about those graphic novels is the way Art Spiegelman used animal heads in the place of recognizable human ones. The completely black-and-white illustrations vividly underline the feelings Spiegelman wanted to express with his books. And still now, almost two months after finishing them, am I stunned.

    Do I need to mention that I'd recommend these graphic novels to everyone?

  • F

    I loved this.

    Harsh brutality of WW2.

    Loved the drawings, the black & white and the jumping back and forth between time.

  • Raeleen Lemay

    The art style was a bit distracting at times, but I really enjoyed this!

  • Matthew

    Maus was more than I expected. I knew it would be about World War II and the Holocaust with the charaters being anthropomorphic mice, cats, pigs, dogs, etc. What I didn't realize was it would expand even farther in to the specific lives of the Spiegelmans before, during, and after the war.

    Throughout the book the artist/author is a featured character struggling with his curmudgeonly father while he tries to document the story of his father's time in 1930s and 40s Poland and Germany. His experienc

    Maus was more than I expected. I knew it would be about World War II and the Holocaust with the charaters being anthropomorphic mice, cats, pigs, dogs, etc. What I didn't realize was it would expand even farther in to the specific lives of the Spiegelmans before, during, and after the war.

    Throughout the book the artist/author is a featured character struggling with his curmudgeonly father while he tries to document the story of his father's time in 1930s and 40s Poland and Germany. His experiences with his father are as much a part of the book as the stories he is trying to document.

    Another viewpoint of life under Nazi oppression is always riviting. I have read and seen both fiction and non-fiction accounts of life during WWII. I have been to the Dachau concentration camp. These stories are important, but are not always easy to read or tell. I applaud Spiegelman for this creative approach that hopefully brings these stories to those who might not be inclined to read a big novel or watch a documentary.

    Basically everyone should read this or at least some stories of the war. They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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