Law and Conversation

November 12, 2010

Weekend reading: Art Spiegelman’s Maus

Weekends are often good opportunities for me to catch up on reading.  This weekend I’m continuing my on-again, off-again graphic novel jag by picking up a graphic novel modern classic:  Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the story of his parents’ experience as WWII concentration camp survivors.

I’m approaching the book, which has been on my list for years, with some trepidation because of its ghastly subject matter.  But I’m also expecting it to be a great story, not least of all because of the melding of text with illustrations.  Many great writers, including Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, and Gerda Weissmann Klein, have, through words alone, eloquently conveyed the horror of the Holocaust as well as the hope that sprang up afterward.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Spiegelman uses pictures to tell and reinforce his parents’ story.

What graphic novels or comics do you think have told stories particularly effectively?

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4 Comments »

  1. I’ve been avoiding this book for the same reasons you have. It’s always features on the library’s “Staff Picks” shelf, but I just can’t bring myself to pick it up. and that makes me feel like a horrible person.

    is there another graphic novel that tells a story as effectively than Maus? i doubt it. i could list a bunch of fantasy graphic novels that i love, but it comes down to the fiction vs nonfiction thing, and in this case, i see nonfiction always winning. maybe Persepolis by Satrapi (sp?)?

    Comment by Redhead — November 13, 2010 @ 10:01 am | Reply

    • Redhead, thanks so much for your comment and recommendation. My update is that, as with Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” I read vol. I of Maus in one evening and cannot WAIT to rush to the library to check out vol. II. Spiegelman’s technique of illustrating the story his father tells him in installments, over time, switching from the present telling of the story to the past story itself, is very well done.

      I’ve read both fictional and nonfiction graphic novels in recent months. I wouldn’t say that nonfiction always wins for me, but certainly some of the graphic memoirs I’ve read have been outstanding. I’ll have some recommendations for both in later posts.

      Comment by helengunnar — November 13, 2010 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  2. […] On Friday I posted about my plan to read Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” over the weekend.  Now that I’ve done so, I’d include it on any list of great Holocaust literature or list of seminal graphic novels.  It’s fascinating to see how the cartoons of people as mice, cats, pigs, and dogs (and one frog) work so well with the characters’ conversation to convey Spiegelman’s father’s harrowing story of the Holocaust as well as his son’s own story of how he came to draw and write the book. […]

    Pingback by Read This! Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning « Law and Conversation — November 15, 2010 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  3. […] I mentioned last week that I’ve been on a graphic novel kick on and off this year.  The combination of dialogue, occasional narration, and often stylized cartoons to tell great stories never ceases to fascinate me. […]

    Pingback by Three graphic memoirs worth reading « Law and Conversation — November 17, 2010 @ 12:06 am | Reply


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