recently read

reread, rather.

MAUS, the brilliant and iconic Holocaust memoir by Art Spiegelman.

I read MAUS around the time it first came out in book form, late eighties and early nineties.  I was deeply impressed by the graphic descriptions of Auschwitz and the horrors therein, the brutal Nazi Germans, the suffering of the Jews.

now from 20 years distance, the psychological punch remains strong, but I found myself drawn to Vladek Spiegelman's (Art's father: survivor of the camps whose history as told to Art comprises the main body of MAUS) personal history not only during the war and internment but before and after. as a young man Vladek is resourceful, quick, present-minded, strong, and generous;  the sick old man he became is miserly, obsessive, driven to the point that he makes everyone's life miserable. 
yet there is a great deal of tenderness in the way Art presents his old man: from his somewhat fractured English – You are dropping in the carpet cigarette ashes. You want it should be like a stable here?   to how Vladek, in an ambulance, gets off the stretcher to give directions to the hospital to the driver.

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8 thoughts on “recently read

  1. I read a very impressive excerpt from MAUS a couple months back and it's been on my list of books to read since then. I think it just moved up a few spaces in the queue.

  2. "Surrogates". my library has it, the short review is intriguing. I shall add it to the (endless and growing) to-read queue.

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