Friday, May 22, 2015

Maus: A Survivor's Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began

Written by: Art Spiegelman

First line: Summer vacation.

Why you should read this book: As book II opens, '80s era Vladek has just been left by his second wife, while '40s era Vladek has just been sent to Auschwitz, and Art continues to piece together his father's evolution and the blurring of lines between then and now in the mind of his father. The author's frustration with his father, who passed away between the publication of these two volumes, continues to mount, as Spiegelman desperately tries to empathize with the man who, he feels, has made his own life more difficult. There's no real resolution here, as emphasized by the point in the book when Vladek says "And here my troubles began," along with the his insistence on the last page that he and Art's mother "lived happy happy every after" despite the fact that they are both still mourning Anja's death by suicide over a decade earlier; there is only the acknowledgement that the living choose whether or not to continue living, and how to deal with suffering.

Why you shouldn't read this book: There are no happy endings for Holocaust survivors, apparently.

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