Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Maus: A Survivor's Tale Volume 2: And Here My Troubles Began

In 1992, this volume won a Special Award Pulitzer Prize, marking it as one of the most celebrated graphic novels ever. Maus II continues the narrative began in Maus I, and nowadays both books are typically published together as a package. Here we see the continuing relationship of Art and his father Vladek as they alternately bicker, share moments, and work on this oral history. Vladek is getting older, and he is trying to put more of his life in order, but he is also being overwhelmed by powerful emotions. The bulk of Vladek's account here is his time spent in Auschwitz, the largest German concentration camp.

Spiegelman calls the place Mauschwitz here to keep with the thematic representation of his narrative, but the real place was the site of torturous labor and death for almost all who entered. This slideshow begins to show what conditions were actually like inside the camp. Today, many of the building still stand, as a dual museum/monument to past events. Through his resourcefulness and luck, Vladek manages to survive his horrible ordeal, and the moments where the prisoners win their freedom are almost more troubling as they are happy.

Reviews of Maus II are almost universally positive. Ty Burr at Entertainment Weekly gave it an A+. There are many 5-star ratings for it on Goodreads. Aside from the Pulitzer Prize, it received a National Book Critics Circle Nomination in 1991, and Spiegelman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990 to foster his artistic ventures.

Spiegelman has gone on from Maus to create a great number of other comix work, most notably of late, In the Shadow of No Towers, his account of the 9/11 tragedy and its aftermath.

Some preview pages are available here from the book's publisher, Pantheon.

No comments:

Post a Comment