Monthly Archives: June 2014

Book Review: The Complete Maus

‘Graphic’ and ‘novel’ ideally stand apart for any reader, since the former tends to rely largely on image and the latter on text. I decide to judge for myself, the result of merging the two, when the TSBC Challenge comes up with a “Graphic Novel Special” in June. And, by now, I’m attuned to lay blind trust in their recommendations.

But it wasn’t the BEST people who survived, nor did the best ones die. It was RANDOM.

the_complete_maus

Pavel’s astute observation on the Holocaust, in Maus, constantly rings in my mind as a comment on reading, as well as mis-reading a survivor-story. Half way through the book, he questions the writer’s own perception of the Holocaust and its survivors even as he tries to lighten Artie’s emotional/creative dilemma and distress (graphically portrayed by Artie’s shrunken size). Could we extend this remark to life itself, I wonder, as I try to consolidate my experience of ‘reading’ Maus by Art Spiegelman, as a part of the TSBC Challenge.

The book-cover leaves little to the imagination, for one can’t help but notice a vivid swastika cross. One broadly knows what to expect, but not quite. Expectation, in the world of Maus, is a mistake. I’m told by the mini-blurbs on the inside of the jacket that the work is autobiographical. However, the predominant images of cat and mouse seem at odds with this intention. Why would an autobiographical work require a metaphorical representation? Intriguing.

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