AUGUST READ - SPOILERS - The Complete Maus
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It is a really gripping story and told in a very realistic way.
The fact that the protagonist, Spiegelman's father, isn't always shown in a pleasant light really makes him three dimensional. Although I've read quite a few Holocaust books and memoirs, I don't think I've ever read one where the Holocaust survivor was a full human being complete with warts before they entered the camp.
I know that Poles were/are quite upset about their portrayal in the book. It doesn't seem unbalanced to me.
The Poles are portrayed as pigs as I recall. Maybe that has something to do with it.
Yup, I see the insult, but I also see all the beloved pigs out there: Wilber, Piglet, Hamm, Miss Piggy, Porky, Babe -- and that's not counting all the
But, Spiegelman answered the question for me in MetaMaus. He **was** thinking of the schwein/piggy dual aspect.
Hitler called the Poles schwein so he drew them as pigs. Hitler called the Jews vermin, so they became mice.
Whoda thunk it would have kept him from getting a Polish visa in the 80's.
It was certainly well written and moving especially when it came to the relationship between the artist and his father. I found it interesting to read about the Holocaust from a wealthy family's perspective. In the end, it ended up the same, but the beginnings were different from say, Anne Frank's story. I also liked that the father was shown flaws and all. He was no tragic hero. However, I was unimpressed with the graphics. Most of the time, I couldn't tell one character from another except from the dialogue. And in general found it blocky and uninspiring.
I did find much of the story moving, but the "animalisation" of the characters didn't add as much impact or insight as I had expected. There was just one image that really stood out for me, it was of a couple (his parents, I guess) walking along a street, seen from behind, and the woman's mouse tail is trailing along behind her. The text states that she was never very good at disguising herself, and this image makes it clear how vulnerable she is.
I also quite enjoyed the "meta" aspect of Spiegelman talking about the creation of the book itself as the story progresses.
I wonder if that was intentional. The Germans saw only a faceless mass of Jews, not individual people. They were drawn as mice because the Germans called them vermin .... and the book's title is the German word maus.
But I see what you say about the drawing. I much preferred the style Marjane Satrapi used in her memoir Persepolis.
Wonderful summing up of the father-son relationship, Sakerfalcon!