Maus by Art Spiegelman

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Adult Reads
Maus by Art Spiegelman

We usually focus on prose novels in this blog, but we’re branching out to a graphic novel.

Art Spiegelman’s biographical graphic novel Maus made headlines when it became the first comic book to win a Pullitzer Prize. Using the classic comic book convention of human-like talking animals as characters, the Nazis are presented as predatory cats and the Jewish people are mice, hence the title

The book has two intertwining narratives. The first is about Art trying to tease from his father the story of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, and the second is the father’s actual story. The result is a captivating true tale of inhumanity, survival, and the lingering effects of trauma.

Now Maus has made headlines again, as a schoolboard in Tennessee has recently banned it, citing language and nudity. This action set off a firestorm around the world, with the banning being decried and cited as a part of a disturbing trend in school libraries. As often happens in these situations, Maus has returned to the bestseller list as readers attempt to see what the fuss is all about.

Maus is an incredible (if painful) book, and one that is sure to win over anyone who thinks comics are just for kids. If you haven’t read it, give it a try, and if you have, why not give it a reread?

Douglas Davey
Manager, Library Services
Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library


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