There are books in my life that I return to, over and over again. Books such as Watership Down, Dune, and Watchmen call to me requiring that I once again make my pilgrimage through those hallowed pages. Each sojourn there amongst these brings a new insight, yields a new layer of experience. The best books are like that, layered, complex. There’s so much going on that you can’t absorb it all in one reading. They are books that demand to be read.
Art Spiegelman’s Maus is one of these books.
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale is a graphic novel of very personal horror. The story is told in first person, Spiegelman placing himself as a character within the book capturing the story of his father’s survival as a Polish Jew in World War II Europe. Beyond being the story of his father’s courage, character, and determination to survive the Hell of persecution in the concentration camps, it is also the tale of Spiegelman’s troubled relationship with his father.
As the story opens, we see a young man who doesn’t understand his father at all. Led by the desire to hear his father’s tale, he interviews him… and over time, grows to understand the man he knows while gaping with horror at the terrible times that shaped him.
This story moves me every time I read it. It is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. You owe it to yourself to own it.