Graphic novels. They are magic. Stories with pictures in long form for adults.
“Maus” by Art Spiegelman for me was the kind of book that you always hear good things about but never come around to reading it. Plus the price tag it comes with doesn’t exactly encourage you to buy it.
My boyfriend had got his hands on a copy from a friend and I told him to lend it to me. Almost a year passed and that did not happen either.
This month finally, he remembered, since I could never and he gave it to me. I finished reading it yesterday and boy, the book is the best thing I have ever read.
It’s about the holocaust and follows the story of Art’s father during world war two and how he survived through Auchwitz. Art’s father was a Polish jew.
The best bit about the book is, that it helps foreigners like me understand the holocaust better. About the unprecedented terror of experiencing everyone you love being butchered and not knowing when your turn will be.
No amount of admiration in words can do justice to the brilliance of Maus. It not just encapsulates the bone-chilling persecution of Jews by the Nazis, but also juxtaposes that with a modern day U.S and the other mundane personal battles fought within a family.
So on one hand, you see a character’s struggle to not be killed by ruthless Germans who would blow anybody’s brains out for the sheer sadistic joy of it on the other hand there is a father-son argument about what to have for breakfast in a Catskill resort.
Further reading of Art, led me to find out that a lot of the writers who have written the graphic novels that I own were inspired by him. For example Marjane Satrapi, who wrote Persepolis, which is another brilliant novel.
Some have even worked under him, like Charles Burn who wrote Black Hole. Another awesome piece of work.
Despite having read the complete Maus now, I intend to buy it, just to add to my bookshelf.
Trivia: It’s the only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer prize.