Thoughtful Thursday: Maus

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Last night I was watching a great documentary on Simon Wiesenthal. He was someone I’ve admired for a long time. You know that huge cliche-of-a-question, “What one person, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?” Simon Wiesenthal would be my pick. I’ve always been fascinated by Holocaust survivor stories, but Wiesenthal’s journey touches me more than most. (I also really like listening to recordings of him speaking German, because he spoke slowly enough that I can understand.) After the war, Wiesenthal devoted his life to hunting down Nazi war criminals, helping bring them to justice. I think he wanted his individual experience to mean something to the world. He felt an overwhelming responsibility to mankind to stand up, to make the life he had somehow been allowed to live count for others.

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Every time I study something Holocaust related now, I think about the book Maus by Art Spiegelman. Published in two volumes, this is one of the very few graphic novels I can admit to having read in my life. Not that I am opposed to graphic novels — it’s just not a genre I ever became particularly enamored with. Most of the stories don’t interest me. But Maus is one of the most unique works of literature I’ve ever experienced. I loved the choice of format, because the art enhances the story and makes the reader absorb it in a more complete, more emotional way than if it was just words. I read both volumes in one night — couldn’t put them down. I borrowed them from my friend Caro, who introduced me to them. She spent a year studying in Germany, speaks fluently, and is very interested in all things German. I’d love to own my own copy of the set, in case any of you someday need a gift idea. 🙂 The novels depict a son interviewing his Holocaust-survivor father about his experiences during the war. All the characters are mice. It is fascinating.

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica said,

    April 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Maus is one of the greats in graphic novels. I happen to adore the genre, but Maus can totally cross genre boundaries.

  2. January 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    You should totally check out our blog realteenreviews.wordpress.com

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