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

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Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfe Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiararity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. This second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek's harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. At every level this is the ultimate survivor's tale - and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.


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Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfe Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiararity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. This second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek's harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. At every level this is the ultimate survivor's tale - and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caro (Bookaria)

    This second volume continues the powerful story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the author and his dad's story. It is horrific but at the same time it carries a message of hope and survival.  In this volume we find Vladek in Auschwitz and his experiences there are described in detail, however, amidst the atrocities the author is able to interject some humour here and there. The author also explores deeper his relationship with hi This second volume continues the powerful story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the author and his dad's story. It is horrific but at the same time it carries a message of hope and survival.  In this volume we find Vladek in Auschwitz and his experiences there are described in detail, however, amidst the atrocities the author is able to interject some humour here and there. The author also explores deeper his relationship with his aging father. This novel is absolutely extraordinary, insightful and heartbreaking, I will never forget it and highly recommend it to all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    Actual rating 4.5 stars. Firstly, this book is a lot more intense and dark than the first one. Sometimes, I had to take a step back and digest what I had seen. I enjoyed the more focused look at Art’s life, especially how he dealt with the pressures that came with having created something so successful. Once again, the moments between Art and his father, Vladek were my favourite. Not that hard I guess, given what the other half of the book was about. I really appreciated the balance between the Actual rating 4.5 stars. Firstly, this book is a lot more intense and dark than the first one. Sometimes, I had to take a step back and digest what I had seen. I enjoyed the more focused look at Art’s life, especially how he dealt with the pressures that came with having created something so successful. Once again, the moments between Art and his father, Vladek were my favourite. Not that hard I guess, given what the other half of the book was about. I really appreciated the balance between the light, almost comical family drama and the utter horrors of Vladek's past. They really escalated from the last book. I love that Art included how he struggled to imagine exactly what his father had gone through. I also love how personal this story was. A story like this could leave some people wanting to detach from what was going on. But since we’ve gotten to know Vladek, it feels all the more real. You can’t shield yourself from the horror and absolute anguish he and many others like him went through. This is such a good reminder that traumatic events don’t just last for a little while. The damage can span generations.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Since I'd read Maus I about a year ago and Nadja Spiegelman's enticing memoir in the summertime, I was beyond ecstatic to find this second volume on the shelves of my local library. And since it's been quite a while, I was grateful that this volume had a quick recap at the start of what occurred before: Art Spiegelman, a cartoonist born after WW II, is working on a book about what happened to his parents as Jews in wartime Poland. He has made a series of visits to his childhood home in Rego Pa Since I'd read Maus I about a year ago and Nadja Spiegelman's enticing memoir in the summertime, I was beyond ecstatic to find this second volume on the shelves of my local library. And since it's been quite a while, I was grateful that this volume had a quick recap at the start of what occurred before: Art Spiegelman, a cartoonist born after WW II, is working on a book about what happened to his parents as Jews in wartime Poland. He has made a series of visits to his childhood home in Rego Park, N.Y., to record his father's memories. Art's mother, Anja, committed suicide in 1968. Art becomes furious when he learns that his gather, Vladek, has burned Anja's wartime memoirs. Vladek is remarried to Mala, another survivor. She complains often of his stinginess and lack of concern for her. Vladek, a diabetic who has suffered two heart attacks, is in poor health. In Poland, Vladek had been a small-time textile salesman. In 1937 he married Anja Zylberberg, the youngest daughter of a wealthy Sosnowiec hosiery family. They had a son, Richieu, who died during the war. Forced first into ghettos, then into hiding, Vladek and Anja tried to escape to Hungary with their prewar acquaintances, the Mandelbaums, whose nephew, Abraham, had attested in a letter that the escape rout was safe. They were caught and, in March, 1944, they were brought to the gates of Auschwitz. Once again this graphic novel left me at a loss for words, so I think it's for the best if I'll just share those scenes that evoked certain strong emotions in me: It was fascinating getting to see Françoise depicted through the eyes of her husband, instead of her daughter's (as in I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This). But that's also what bothered me in here: I didn't like the way she was portrayed. I kept feeling like Françoise was inserting herself in the wrong conversation. Like, this wasn't a conversation for her to participate in. I mean, that comment didn't sit well with me at all. And this just... really?? So I was more than willing to let the focus shift from the present day. Until I realized just how utterly heart-wrecking Vladek's past is. The scenes at the camp were one of the most hard-hitting. It's sad, but the above three images gave me a glimmer of hope in this world full of cruel and inhuman suffering (that is to say: before I'd read the last panel, but still). This graphic novel also educated me a lot, which I wasn't expecting. I thought I'd heard it all - or at least most - of what there was to know about Auschwitz, but my history lessons weren't even close. The horrors Vladek and Anja and many others had to go through were jarring. The amount of suffering... My heart aches. My mouth is still wide open at that. THREE OR FOUR WEEKS. All in all: I came in unprepared with Maus II. The amount of suffering and anguish and heartbreak left me emotionally spent. (I'll no doubt end up thinking about them for a while to come.) And it goes without saying that this remains one of the most poignant and harrowing graphic novels I've read to date. 4.5/5 stars Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Maus II, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission! Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Fantastic conclusion. I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first. The two stories of Vladek in the past and Vladek in the present really explore interesting topics of generational gaps as well as national differences. Art's American sensibility versus his father's stinginess--a result of his wartime survival--is extremely understandable and well explored in this volume. It's a harrowing story but so uniquely told and such a wonderful insight into one man's Holocaust survival, I would hi Fantastic conclusion. I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first. The two stories of Vladek in the past and Vladek in the present really explore interesting topics of generational gaps as well as national differences. Art's American sensibility versus his father's stinginess--a result of his wartime survival--is extremely understandable and well explored in this volume. It's a harrowing story but so uniquely told and such a wonderful insight into one man's Holocaust survival, I would highly recommend it. 4.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    The mouse-and-cat metaphor for the Holocaust that Art Spiegelman established in his first volume of Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, is continued in Volume II of Maus, with its grimly sardonic subtitle of And Then My Troubles Began. Volume I of Maus ended with the artist’s father and mother, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, at the gates of the Auschwitz death camp in 1944. Volume II takes the reader inside, on a terrifying and powerfully rendered journey through the Nazis’ machinery of genocide. Like its pred The mouse-and-cat metaphor for the Holocaust that Art Spiegelman established in his first volume of Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, is continued in Volume II of Maus, with its grimly sardonic subtitle of And Then My Troubles Began. Volume I of Maus ended with the artist’s father and mother, Vladek and Anja Spiegelman, at the gates of the Auschwitz death camp in 1944. Volume II takes the reader inside, on a terrifying and powerfully rendered journey through the Nazis’ machinery of genocide. Like its predecessor, Maus II is a framed tale. Art Spiegelman builds upon Vladek's testimony of Holocaust experiences, as well as those of two other family members – Vladek’s first son/Art’s older brother Richieu, who died as a small child during the Holocaust, and Art’s mother/Vladek’s wife Anja, who took her own life in 1968, two decades after the end of the Second World War. In the process, Art must do his best to deal with his own feelings of depression and “survivors’ guilt,” even though he was not born until after the Holocaust -- and he must cope with his feelings of mingled love for and resentment toward his rapidly aging father. And, as with Maus I, Maus II utilizes an elaborate visual metaphor to tell its true-life story of the Holocaust. The Jewish prisoners are depicted as mice, the Nazis as cats, the Polish civilians as pigs. This bold artistic risk on Spiegelman’s part somehow draws into particularly stark relief the cruelty and absolute horror of the Holocaust; the drawing style, with relatively thick lines, heavy on black and grey, somehow keeps the story from taking on a safe, History Channel-style distance from the reader. One way in which Maus II differs from Maus I is that in this second book, Spiegelman has the chance to examine the consequences of the success of the first one. A large panel shows Spiegelman’s writing desk atop a pile of corpses, showing his feelings of ambivalence about having written a Holocaust book when he himself is not a Holocaust survivor. As interviews with German, Israeli, and American journalists (all of them wearing masks) go in increasingly strange directions, a businessman offers Spiegelman a grotesque licensed-merchandise deal: “Maus -- you’ve read the book, now buy the vest!” (p. 42) Spiegelman, who grows smaller and smaller throughout this ordeal, as if undergoing a reversion to childhood, goes to see his therapist; and it is in the conversation between the two that some of the core themes of Maus II emerge. Spiegelman talks of how, for all that he resents about his father Vladek, he admires the resourcefulness that helped Vladek survive. The therapist, himself a Holocaust survivor, says, “Then you think it’s admirable to survive. Does that mean it’s not admirable to not survive?” Art is taken aback: “I think I see what you mean. It’s as if life equals winning, so death equals losing.” And the therapist builds upon those ideas – and, one senses, upon his own Holocaust experience: “Yes. Life always takes the side of life, and somehow the victims are blamed. But it wasn’t the best people who survived, nor did the best ones die. It was random!” (p. 45) That theme certainly resonates throughout Maus II. Vladek’s survival of the Holocaust was partly a matter of his resourcefulness and his ability to learn new skills quickly: at Auschwitz he mended shoes, worked tin, and taught English, earning in the process extra food or lighter duties, and gaining some degree of protection from powerful people within the camp. At other times, however, his living rather than dying was simply a matter of being in the right line or barrack or work detail at the right time, while people in another line or barrack or work detail were being taken away to be shot or gassed. As one of the jobs that Vladek had while imprisoned at Auschwitz was as a tinsmith, he is in a strong position to tell the story of the Nazis’ plans to commit genocide and then destroy the evidence of their crimes against humanity. Having worked on disassembly of the gas-chamber and crematorium buildings at Auschwitz as the Soviet army drew near the death camp, Vladek can provide Art with the information that he needs to draw a complete and accurate schematic. In five panels that are very straightforwardly rendered, with no stylistic flourishes, Vladek, in the present day, tells Art and Art’s wife Françoise, as they sit together over lunch, “The Germans didn’t want to leave anywhere a sign of all what they did. You heard about the gas, but I’m telling not rumors, but only what I really saw. For this I was an eyewitness” (p. 69). The last panel moves the reader from a contemporary lunchtime in the Catskills to the chimney of a crematorium building, with smoke curling up in the background behind it. As the Nazi regime crumbles and the Allied forces advance, that theme of survival being largely a matter of chance receives further emphasis; Vladek and his fellow prisoners are detained and abandoned by two different squads of Wehrmacht soldiers before being formally liberated by an American patrol. Yet even as Maus II chronicles Vladek’s post-liberation life experiences, the fundamental experience of loss is emphasized. When Art asks Vladek at one point about Anja, meaning that he wants to hear about Anja’s Holocaust experiences, Vladek, in close-up, looks down sadly as he replies, “Anja? What is to tell? Everywhere I look I’m seeing Anja…From my good eye, from my glass eye, if they’re open or they’re closed, always I’m thinking on Anja” (p. 103). Later, in a large panel that is divided into five smaller panels, Vladek looks down disconsolately at family photographs scattered across the floor of his home and reflects that “only my little brother, Pinek, came out from the war alive…from the rest of my family it’s nothing left, not even a snapshot” (p. 116). Maus II ends on an uncertain note. On the one hand, there is the joy of Vladek and Anja’s reunion in postwar Poland: “It was such a moment that everybody around was crying with us….We were both very happy, and lived happy, happy ever after.” On the other hand, there is that note of loss again in the way a tired Vladek dismisses Art by mistakenly calling him by the name “Richieu” – Vladek’s murdered son, Art’s murdered older brother: “I’m tired from talking, Richieu, and it’s enough stories for now…” (p. 136) Closing as it does with an image of the gravestone for Vladek and Anja Spiegelman – a quiet reminder that Anja took her own life in 1968, over a decade before Vladek Spiegelman died from natural causes in 1982 -- Maus II is a moving tribute: by a son to his lost parents, and by a talented artist to the millions killed in the Holocaust. Addendum, 30 January 2022: I returned to Maus in the aftermath of a Tennessee school board's removal of the book from their county schools' 8th-grade language-arts curriculum. I read the transcript of the meeting in which the McMinn County school board voted to ban Maus. Unsurprisingly, the board members' reasoning was a veritable catalog of logical fallacies. For example: One board member pointed out that the book contains words that, if spoken out loud by students, would fall under the system's disciplinary code. This is an example of oversimplification -- leaving out relevant facts or considerations about an issue. Teaching a book that contains curse words does not legitimize the speaking of those curse words from the book, out loud, in a school's locker room or cafeteria. A teacher reading the book out loud, in class, can simply skip over the objectionable words. Everyone already knows what those words sound like. A board member did not like it that the book showed hangings carried out by the Nazis -- said it was too much for 13-year-olds. Perhaps someone could remind that board member that plenty of people 13 years old, and younger, were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The youth and innocence of those children did not protect them from the perpetrators of genocide. And a board member, attacking the book, pointed out that author Art Spiegelman was once an illustrator for Playboy magazine. This is a classic example of guilt by association. One can disapprove of Playboy magazine, if one wants to, and can still recognize Maus as a great and important work of art. This is the kind of "reasoning" that always motivates book-banners. Whatever their ideology, they think that they can decide, better than you can, what ideas are good or bad for you. Fight the censors. Read banned books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    This was even more devastating than Maus I. Vladek Spiegelman's story is continued here. In Maus I, we left Vladek and his wife Anja at the gates of Auschwitz. In this volume, we are treated to an insider's view of daily life at a Nazi concentration camp. As with Maus I, the fact that it is written in comic-book format does nothing to soften the impact - if anything, it heightens it. In the camp, the inmates are subjected to a slow, drawn-out death sentence as the guards play with them like... wel This was even more devastating than Maus I. Vladek Spiegelman's story is continued here. In Maus I, we left Vladek and his wife Anja at the gates of Auschwitz. In this volume, we are treated to an insider's view of daily life at a Nazi concentration camp. As with Maus I, the fact that it is written in comic-book format does nothing to soften the impact - if anything, it heightens it. In the camp, the inmates are subjected to a slow, drawn-out death sentence as the guards play with them like... well, cats with mice. There is no humanity here, it's every man for himself, and the toughest shall only survive. And Vladek happens to be one smart, tough mouse. The troubled relationship between Art and Vladek is analysed in detail: and we get a glimpse of how Vladek changed into the self-centred, obsessive-compulsive miser that he has become. Did he survive because these traits were inbuilt, or did the camp life make him what he is? Tantalising question. For me, the most impressive part of the book was the second one, where Art tries to come to terms with his father's death as well as the ethics of making a book out of his life. Here, all the characters are shown as wearing animal masks, rather than as animals themselves - they have become more humanised and homogeneous, but the masks of race and nationality are not fully discarded. As Art is interviewed by journalists from various countries, the panels depict, at the bottom, heaps of dead mice piled one on top of the other, their faces twisted in agony - this is superb use of the medium, not possible in a conventional narrative. Art regresses to a child, crying out for his dead mother, as the paparazzi bully him - a sequence both terrifying and comic. A terrific read. BTW, a bigger review is up on my blog.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Sagan

    Such a powerful book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    When I was a boy living in Germany, my parents and I visited Dachau concentration camp. It was horrible. We saw the ovens, the gas chambers, the graveyards. The visit drove home to me the magnitude of the horror that had been perpetrated there, and the madness of the people who had orchestrated it. Maus II is mostly concerned with Vladek's time in Auschwitz. It reminded me of all things I had seen when I was a boy, but it also added a new perspective. This graphic novel really drove home to me wha When I was a boy living in Germany, my parents and I visited Dachau concentration camp. It was horrible. We saw the ovens, the gas chambers, the graveyards. The visit drove home to me the magnitude of the horror that had been perpetrated there, and the madness of the people who had orchestrated it. Maus II is mostly concerned with Vladek's time in Auschwitz. It reminded me of all things I had seen when I was a boy, but it also added a new perspective. This graphic novel really drove home to me what the inmates of the camps had to do to survive. I think that one of the biggest crimes committed by the Nazis was the way they caused their prisoners to turn their backs on one another, just to survive. That stripping of humanity gets lost sometimes beside the greater horror of the scale of death and destruction they left in their wake. Maus II also deals more intimately with Art's relationship with his father. We get a greater insight into the causes of the tension between them. We also get to see more of how his father's life and damage affected Art through his adult life, even beyond his father's death.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    The conclusion to the powerful story of Maus. A son is collecting his father's horror stories from the Holocaust. Told as mice vs cats. I still can't imagine what these people went through. The art tells the story, it's grim art for a grim story. This also shows how difficult it is to come out of a survival mode mentality. Vladik is still a surviver. I hope the world never sees anything like this again. This is a classic book and yes, it deserves to be on the top of the Best of Graphic Novel lists The conclusion to the powerful story of Maus. A son is collecting his father's horror stories from the Holocaust. Told as mice vs cats. I still can't imagine what these people went through. The art tells the story, it's grim art for a grim story. This also shows how difficult it is to come out of a survival mode mentality. Vladik is still a surviver. I hope the world never sees anything like this again. This is a classic book and yes, it deserves to be on the top of the Best of Graphic Novel lists. Powerful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    And thus the tale is complete. In this second volume the meta-level is even more prominent as Spiegelman’s struggle with putting his father’s tale to paper becomes an important part of the narrative. It’s called A Survivor’s Tale though. And Vladek Spiegelman’s story is still the focal point. The narrative moves forward to his time in Auschwitz. And no matter how often I read or see something about Auschwitz it never ceases to deeply affect me. It’s hard to understand what despicable things human b And thus the tale is complete. In this second volume the meta-level is even more prominent as Spiegelman’s struggle with putting his father’s tale to paper becomes an important part of the narrative. It’s called A Survivor’s Tale though. And Vladek Spiegelman’s story is still the focal point. The narrative moves forward to his time in Auschwitz. And no matter how often I read or see something about Auschwitz it never ceases to deeply affect me. It’s hard to understand what despicable things human beings are capable of. But sadly it is also very real and should never be forgotten. Ultimately this book is not only about surviving the Holocaust, but also about coming to terms with life afterwards. The struggle of Vladek Spiegelman and also that of his son, the author of this book, is very palpable. A deeply moving tale. And winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Well deserved! Recommended by Amélie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I should have read the Complete Maus at the time of reading Maus 1, of which was ages ago. So, had to flick through it to familiarize with it again, before reading Maus 2. Not a big fan of graphic novels in general, and the artwork here might not have had the wow factor; nor was it suppose to, but the idea of cats as Nazis and mice as Jews was genius, and the story a compelling and heartbreaking one. And, more importantly, an educational one too, in terms of children experiencing a holocaust boo I should have read the Complete Maus at the time of reading Maus 1, of which was ages ago. So, had to flick through it to familiarize with it again, before reading Maus 2. Not a big fan of graphic novels in general, and the artwork here might not have had the wow factor; nor was it suppose to, but the idea of cats as Nazis and mice as Jews was genius, and the story a compelling and heartbreaking one. And, more importantly, an educational one too, in terms of children experiencing a holocaust book for the first time: one that hopefully will leave a powerful impression, but at the same time isn't going to cause nightmares. While it does indeed cover the events at Auschwitz as Vladek looks backs as an older man, it was the strained father/son relationship between Art and Vladek in the modern day that touched me the most. I'm no expert on graphic novels, but this surely has to be in at least the top five of all time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Arnie

    When I was a kid I read comic books (mostly Superman). The Maus books are the only graphic novels I've read and I consider them masterpieces (Mausterpieces?). Like Spiegelman's alter ego, I was a middle class child growing up in Queens (NYC), the son of Holocaust survivors and couldn't communicate with my father when I was growing up. He got it down perfectly. It was spot on and ranks among the best of Holocaust related literature. When I was a kid I read comic books (mostly Superman). The Maus books are the only graphic novels I've read and I consider them masterpieces (Mausterpieces?). Like Spiegelman's alter ego, I was a middle class child growing up in Queens (NYC), the son of Holocaust survivors and couldn't communicate with my father when I was growing up. He got it down perfectly. It was spot on and ranks among the best of Holocaust related literature.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Vol 2.... Pulitzer prize winning book. Art Spieglman takes us deep inside in concentration camps....and really shows us how life was day to day. This book is so hard to put down once you begin... It's so frickin sad --- ( we take the in horrors on probably the deepest of deepest levels, from a book about the Holocaust) The graphic depictions are the most brilliant creation of all ... everything about these illustrations works ---( their artistic design and purpose are flawless). Vol 2.... Pulitzer prize winning book. Art Spieglman takes us deep inside in concentration camps....and really shows us how life was day to day. This book is so hard to put down once you begin... It's so frickin sad --- ( we take the in horrors on probably the deepest of deepest levels, from a book about the Holocaust) The graphic depictions are the most brilliant creation of all ... everything about these illustrations works ---( their artistic design and purpose are flawless).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    It’s always nice when you completely understand why something has achieved its status. A book of humor, horror, and above all, complexity. Spiegelman tells his father’s story as faithfully as he can, while remaining aware that he can’t tell that story faithfully at all – it’ll always be clouded by the way he views his father. I’ve read plenty of books about the Holocaust – academic volumes, memoir, fiction – but this is the best at capturing just how random survival was, and how “survivor” both It’s always nice when you completely understand why something has achieved its status. A book of humor, horror, and above all, complexity. Spiegelman tells his father’s story as faithfully as he can, while remaining aware that he can’t tell that story faithfully at all – it’ll always be clouded by the way he views his father. I’ve read plenty of books about the Holocaust – academic volumes, memoir, fiction – but this is the best at capturing just how random survival was, and how “survivor” both is and isn’t the defining trait of the flawed, irritating, endearing humans who survived the Nazi extermination.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I think the rating I gave this novel was too low. I wish I could give this book as many stars as possible. This book, and the book that came before it are so important. They let us know about the struggles that the author's own father faced during the Holocaust. We even got to how the father acted when Spiegelman asked his father questions to get information. This story is such a different way of compiling the hardships of the author's father that it made it so much more compelling. I would reco I think the rating I gave this novel was too low. I wish I could give this book as many stars as possible. This book, and the book that came before it are so important. They let us know about the struggles that the author's own father faced during the Holocaust. We even got to how the father acted when Spiegelman asked his father questions to get information. This story is such a different way of compiling the hardships of the author's father that it made it so much more compelling. I would recommend this graphic novel to everyone and everyone.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    There are so many layers to this story! Is it reality? It it only our perception of Art’s reality? Is it biographical? Autobiographical? Fictional? Historical? Fact? A representation of fact? I don’t know. I don’t care. I love it anyway, no because, of its intangibility and abstract nature. It touches my heart and makes me feel an emotional attachment to the horrifying story and to the factual history behind it, regardless of its classification. There are many subtle clues towards Art’s intentio There are so many layers to this story! Is it reality? It it only our perception of Art’s reality? Is it biographical? Autobiographical? Fictional? Historical? Fact? A representation of fact? I don’t know. I don’t care. I love it anyway, no because, of its intangibility and abstract nature. It touches my heart and makes me feel an emotional attachment to the horrifying story and to the factual history behind it, regardless of its classification. There are many subtle clues towards Art’s intentions with his writing, and his state of mind at certain times. These can be identified in examples such as the change in the ‘masks’ the individuals wore. Discovering these hidden clues and reading between the lines made me feel like I was getting to know and understand Spiegelman more, and feel more of an affinity with his story. His father’s story had already touched my heart but this second volume provided more of an insight into the author and the artist, and a deeper look into how the past has altered and affected the present. Art, in the novel, is not concerned with his father’s present sufferings as they seem small compared to those of his father’s youth - his incarceration in Auschwitz. I think it is for the reader to see how they are connected; how all of life is connected. Art, with his privileged life, could not understand his father as they have none of the same experiences. None from this generation can understand, no matter how many sad stories we read. It is only with stories like this, that link the past and the present, that we see the generational gap in play and can attempt to rectify it. His father’s stinginess and his son’s wastefulness are just one small sign of how their upbringing has effected them. It is one small signifier of their difference. Art, in the novels’ present, cannot see it. It is for us, the readers, to notice it and attempt to make the changes in our life that he could not. This is a story of the horrors of war, but also of the horrors taken from war. It is the story of how grief and loss and mistreatment on such a grand scale can alter a whole person, their personality and their outlook on life. It shows us that although we may read and learn and empathize and believe we understand we can never, thankfully, fully know and relive the horrors of that dark time in human history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I flew directly into this book after finishing Maus 1 because how could I not? I needed to know the rest of Vladek's story from the time he and his wife entered Auschwitz. I also needed to hear the rest of the story between him and his son, Art, with whom he had a stormy relationship. And so, as I turned the first page of this book, I braced myself for what was to come, knowing it would be bad, though I was still unprepared for what amounted to diving into an open wound. Reading this book left m I flew directly into this book after finishing Maus 1 because how could I not? I needed to know the rest of Vladek's story from the time he and his wife entered Auschwitz. I also needed to hear the rest of the story between him and his son, Art, with whom he had a stormy relationship. And so, as I turned the first page of this book, I braced myself for what was to come, knowing it would be bad, though I was still unprepared for what amounted to diving into an open wound. Reading this book left me utterly exhausted and completely sad, not only for Vladek Spiegelman, but for millions of others whose stories would never be told. And it left me aching for Art and his father who only seemed to connect on the surface during the time Vladek recited his story at his son's prodding. The telling didn't seem cathartic nor healing where that open wound was concerned, and perhaps might even have made it worse for a while. As with the first book in this two volume series, book two has scenes with Art and Vladek in the present intercut with those in the past during the Holocaust. Book one ended during a highly volatile scene which set the course for this book, beginning with Art reflecting on his ability to write volume two and undecided as to whether or not it should even be written. Thankfully, he did manage to get past his doubts and misgivings, bringing forth the remainder of his father's story and a good portion of his own. Expect to be amazed at the combination of luck, determination, and ingenuity that allowed Vladek and his wife to survive the Holocaust. Though as Art discussed with his therapist in the story at one point, it was no less admirable or no less heroic not to have survived in the case of others who didn't. And in a way, this book is more for them, for those voices ever silenced.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    If you thought Maus I was a sucker punch, Maus II will just end up breaking your heart. Maus II follows Vladek as he continues to tell his son Artie about the war and what he and his wife survived. Spiegelman does a great job of showing you the ending (his father's death) and then working back to him dealing with what to say after the critical success of Maus I. We follow Artie and his wife as they try to deal with Vladek as he runs off to the Catskills, and then moves back and forth from the pre If you thought Maus I was a sucker punch, Maus II will just end up breaking your heart. Maus II follows Vladek as he continues to tell his son Artie about the war and what he and his wife survived. Spiegelman does a great job of showing you the ending (his father's death) and then working back to him dealing with what to say after the critical success of Maus I. We follow Artie and his wife as they try to deal with Vladek as he runs off to the Catskills, and then moves back and forth from the present day to his father's past.  I don't have a lot to say. The Holocaust was a horrific thing. I can't imagine how the survivors' deal with that. You would have guilt, PTSD, so many things. And you can see how things such as that impacted Artie in his writing and the story that he tells us about his father and his mother. He loved them both, he is frustrated with them both, and he felt smothered by them both. And haunted by a brother that died before he was born. I have to say that this book is darker if possible than book #1. Reading what happened to people, how some were, beaten, forced to fight for food and clothing. Fighting over a spoon. And then just killed.   Some of the panels seem very surreal when you look at the conversations going on around now surrounding teaching kids CRT in grades K-12 (which 100 percent is not happening).  I don't know. I have hope. It's hard to still have that somedays, but I still have hope. We can be better. 

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    "Auschwitz, it was a camp where they gave you to work so they didn't finish you so fast. Birkenau was even more bad. It was 800 people in a building made for 50 horses." I let that fact sink in for a minute before reading on. I have read other books about the Holocaust, however in this book I learned of the capacity for even further atrocities and then I got to the unspeakable horror of the crematorium pits...... One of the thoughts I came away with was the value of practical knowledge, knowing "Auschwitz, it was a camp where they gave you to work so they didn't finish you so fast. Birkenau was even more bad. It was 800 people in a building made for 50 horses." I let that fact sink in for a minute before reading on. I have read other books about the Holocaust, however in this book I learned of the capacity for even further atrocities and then I got to the unspeakable horror of the crematorium pits...... One of the thoughts I came away with was the value of practical knowledge, knowing how to fix things is an important survival skill. Vladek survived Auschwitz because he was more use alive than dead. He was versatile and adaptable, he taught a guard English, fixed the roofs of the women's camp and sewed leather to fix the guards' boots. He was resourceful and shared any food he earned in an effort to ease the suffering of others. While this is a dark book full of the evil mankind can inflict on each other it is also about finding hope in the darkness and the will to go on despite extreme oppression and make a difference in the lives of others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pramod Nair

    "I can't even make sense out of my relationship with my father--how am I supposed to make sense out of the Holocaust?" - Art Spiegelman ‘Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began’ continues with the painful story of ‘Vladek Spiegelman’ from where ‘Maus I’ left off but in a more intense manner. ‘Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began’ is the completion of a masterpiece by Art Spiegelman. The book delves further deep into the everlasting struggle that his family had to go through even after his parents su "I can't even make sense out of my relationship with my father--how am I supposed to make sense out of the Holocaust?" - Art Spiegelman ‘Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began’ continues with the painful story of ‘Vladek Spiegelman’ from where ‘Maus I’ left off but in a more intense manner. ‘Maus, II: And Here My Troubles Began’ is the completion of a masterpiece by Art Spiegelman. The book delves further deep into the everlasting struggle that his family had to go through even after his parents surviving the Nazi death camps and the lingering effects of the holocaust on his family, which makes the private pains of the author more raw and shocking to the reader. ‘Maus, II’ chronicles the life of ‘Vladek Spiegelman’ and his wife starting from the days of their imprisonment in Auschwitz. The way in which the author is concentrating his narratives on to the sheer tenacity shown by ‘Vladek’ for surviving each horror that he and his wife face inside the walls of Auschwitz is brilliant. Instead of going much into the greater portrayals of the slaughters and atrocities of the death camp this approach of highlighting the individual perseverance of ‘Vladek Spiegelman’ as a survivalist makes ‘Maus II’ a great attempt by the author in his quest for understanding his father and his past. This approach makes it more personal and more enjoyable to the reader. This also shows how the character of ‘Vladek’ was influenced in his life following the ‘survival’ after witnessing so much death of loved ones and experiencing humiliation, physical and mental strain, starvation and trauma. ‘Maus II’ also goes to greater depths in portraying Art’s troubled relationship with his father and his difficulty in understanding what his parents really went through before his birth. Some of the imagery in the cartoon panels – like those where the mice portrayed with open mouths as if they are silently screaming - can literally haunt the reader for days. If this story was told in a conventional narrative format it still would have been painful; but it wouldn’t have conveyed the plain naked monstrosity of what ‘Vladek Spiegelman’ had to go through during the war and for the rest of his life to the reader in the way it does with these powerful cartoon panels. Note: I cannot as a casual reviewer do full justice to what this book will be for a reader just through my words. It is something that is to be experienced by yourself; only one thing is certain, if you get connected to this book as a reader it will take some time to recover from its influence.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Petergiaquinta

    Reread 2/1/22 ++++++++++ I really should say something intelligent here, but while I’m trying to figure out the right words, I’ll let Jello Biafra sing this song to the peckerwood dumbshits on that school board in Tennessee, those Nazis in Boston today, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: “Nazi Punks, Fuck Off.” Enjoy. https://youtu.be/Jz1sBi0-130 +++++++++++ Just in case you haven’t been paying attention or too busy to keep up with the Nazi shitheads in the news, here are some links: Peckerwood dumbshit Reread 2/1/22 ++++++++++ I really should say something intelligent here, but while I’m trying to figure out the right words, I’ll let Jello Biafra sing this song to the peckerwood dumbshits on that school board in Tennessee, those Nazis in Boston today, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: “Nazi Punks, Fuck Off.” Enjoy. https://youtu.be/Jz1sBi0-130 +++++++++++ Just in case you haven’t been paying attention or too busy to keep up with the Nazi shitheads in the news, here are some links: Peckerwood dumbshits in Tennessee ban Maus because of a couple of swear words, cartoon naked mice, and a dead woman’s breasts: https://amp.theguardian.com/world/202... Nazi assholes in Boston: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/... Nazi assholes in Florida: https://www.newsweek.com/videos-show-... Nazi-enabling asshole who runs Florida: https://amp.miamiherald.com/opinion/e...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Brilliant. This story in comic book format should be widely distributed for free in the US and other places where lots of people seem to think that Nazis are OK. Nazis are not OK.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I am struggling to write a cohesive review for the second book and final chapter to this saga. The brilliance continues while the story becomes even more difficult to read. It is tough to describe. This heartbreakingly challenging father-son relationship becomes more the focal point of this book and it is masterfully drawn and examined in every frame. Laid out on these pages is the guilt felt by a son who does not understand his father, but who knows his father has endured and survived the unima I am struggling to write a cohesive review for the second book and final chapter to this saga. The brilliance continues while the story becomes even more difficult to read. It is tough to describe. This heartbreakingly challenging father-son relationship becomes more the focal point of this book and it is masterfully drawn and examined in every frame. Laid out on these pages is the guilt felt by a son who does not understand his father, but who knows his father has endured and survived the unimaginable. A continuation of the author's loving tribute to his difficult father, this one killed me on the first (dedication) and last pages. There is a spotlight here on not only the horror of the Holocaust but also the far-reaching (and endless) consequences/effects/struggles/challenges for the survivors and for their families. It must have been tremendously painful and confusing to grow up in the shadow of this atrocity. I applaud Art Spiegelman for using art to explore his life. It was an honor to share in this haunting exploration. I sincerely hope it helped him come to terms with what I assume was a lifetime of sadness and longing. May he find peace and happiness, perhaps through the acceptance of what he cannot change. 5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    This second Maus book finishes up the story of Vladek and Anja Spiegelman's experiences in Auschwitz and Birkenau at the end of WWII. 'Maus' is the German word for 'mouse' and Art Spiegelman – the son and author – chose to portray the Jewish people in his cartoon as mice because of a disparaging German newspaper article in the mid-1930s which belittled Mickey Mouse as the most miserable ideal ever revealed and upheld the Swastika Cross as the highest. His Nazis are therefore cats. Interestingly, This second Maus book finishes up the story of Vladek and Anja Spiegelman's experiences in Auschwitz and Birkenau at the end of WWII. 'Maus' is the German word for 'mouse' and Art Spiegelman – the son and author – chose to portray the Jewish people in his cartoon as mice because of a disparaging German newspaper article in the mid-1930s which belittled Mickey Mouse as the most miserable ideal ever revealed and upheld the Swastika Cross as the highest. His Nazis are therefore cats. Interestingly, he will sometimes portray his characters as wearing masks of some sort—most likely to convey they are in reality one identity, but are hiding behind another. It's not an easy book to read, but then it isn't supposed to be. However, I found one scene of particular interest. Vladek recounts a conversation he had with a priest who studied the prisoner number tattooed on his arm, explaining the Jewish meaning of each of the numbers. This brief but meaningful encounter stayed with him not only throughout the remainder of his imprisonment, but for the rest of his life. He remembered how the priest's words gave him hope at one of the darkest moments of his life. The whole story reminded me of the book, Andersonville, an atrocious book in many respects—all about the outrageous conditions of the Southern P.O.W. camp located in GA during our nation's Civil War. And yet also in that hell-hole there were a few priests who voluntarily risked life and health to enter the prison in order to minister Last Rites to dying men. One in particular, Fr. Peter Whelan is mentioned in several subsequent soldier diaries, by Catholics and Protestants alike. In the most seemingly God-forsaken places, He is. When I read stories like that, I know what a difference small (and not-so-small) kindnesses can make. May He give me the courage to do the same if I am ever given the opportunity.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    This artful book with its short, concise sentences makes a powerful impact on the mind, especially when accompanied by vivid drawings. There are also things that I didn't know about the Holocaust, just as how some survived by bartering for food. Then after reading it every now and then when I think of some things that happened I also see the drawings in my mind. Not sure how I feel about that type of an impact, but this brings me to the end of reading books about the Holocaust. It is a true story This artful book with its short, concise sentences makes a powerful impact on the mind, especially when accompanied by vivid drawings. There are also things that I didn't know about the Holocaust, just as how some survived by bartering for food. Then after reading it every now and then when I think of some things that happened I also see the drawings in my mind. Not sure how I feel about that type of an impact, but this brings me to the end of reading books about the Holocaust. It is a true story about the author's father's survival during the occupation of Hitler's army in Poland. The story begins with his son coming to visit him and asking him about the Holocaust. The chapters go back and forth between his dad's time in Poland and his current living conditions of old age and the inability to take care of himself. You also get the sense of how the war is still affecting him to this day.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Perez

    Read in high school. Focuses on the last half of Vladek's survival during the Holocaust. However, it also focuses on his wife's suicide and how her absence caused a rift between him and Art. If you followed the story, then you know the very last panel and words from Vladek are enough to make one breathless. Read in high school. Focuses on the last half of Vladek's survival during the Holocaust. However, it also focuses on his wife's suicide and how her absence caused a rift between him and Art. If you followed the story, then you know the very last panel and words from Vladek are enough to make one breathless.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    *Reread March 2015 for school I cannot get over how powerful these book are. I'll be doing a video review soon so stay tuned for that. *Reread March 2015 for school I cannot get over how powerful these book are. I'll be doing a video review soon so stay tuned for that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Safeer

    Maus is a masterpiece, and it's in the nature of such things to generate mysteries, and pose more questions than they answer. But if the notion of a canon means anything, Maus is there at the heart of it. Like all great stories, it tells us more about ourselves than we could ever suspect. Maus is a masterpiece, and it's in the nature of such things to generate mysteries, and pose more questions than they answer. But if the notion of a canon means anything, Maus is there at the heart of it. Like all great stories, it tells us more about ourselves than we could ever suspect.

  29. 4 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    Spiegelman’s second volume focuses on his father Vladek’s time in the camps. It’s a brutal read, and as with volume one, we also glimpse the aftereffects. Surviving is a lifelong challenge. I can’t stress enough how essential these books are to better understanding what so many innocent people experienced. It’s within the pages of banned and challenged books, that empathy flourishes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    Follows much the same trajectory as part 1 - so my review is pretty much the same. It's a heartbreaking story, but I am not quite convinced this graphic novel approach with the animal characters was really the proper way to tell it. Follows much the same trajectory as part 1 - so my review is pretty much the same. It's a heartbreaking story, but I am not quite convinced this graphic novel approach with the animal characters was really the proper way to tell it.

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