Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus #1) by Art Spiegelman

April 20, 2016
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History, (Maus #1), Art Spiegelman, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Pantheon Books on November 1st 1991 (first August 12th 1986)
Format Read: Paperback (159 pages)
Genre: Nonfiction/ History/ Biography
Series: Book One of Maus
Source: Purchased
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1)
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.


I was pleasantly surprised, at how much I enjoyed this account. Most of this volume describes the family's life leading to the the Holocaust. Hearing the story told to the author through his father, who is dealing with the hardships of aging, humanized the characters beyond their experience as victims. This was an important part of the story, because most Holocaust accounts that I've read haven't focused on the people, beyond the horror they lived through. The cats as Nazi's and mice as the Jewish people,  helped portray the acts described as horrific, emphasizing how troubling that humanity came to this.
The artwork is black and white, but the artists is still able to portray the various emotions and violence well. I felt incredibly sad reading how the Spiegelman family, slowly ran out of resources, options and allies. I've never read a non-fiction graphic novel before, but was interested in this one because of the subject matter. Although most of the volume was engaging, some of the story didn't add much to the plot and so there were some slow parts.
There is some relate-able frustration, felt by the cartoonist, while he deals with a stubborn father. This contrasts the bleak reality described in the father's account. It works well because humans can be courageous through unimaginable times, and still annoying to their loves ones. We should all remember the complexity of human beings and the lasting effects of trauma. I would recommend this to everyone because it describes a story that needs to be told again and again, so that we never forget.

Let me know if you read and enjoyed this in the comments below.


Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev) is New-York-based comics artist, editor, and advocate for the medium of comics, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus.

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