Title: Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
Creator: Art Spiegelman
Series: Maus #1
Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Audience: Adult (appropriate for teens and up)
Length: 159 pages
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Release Date: November 1, 1991
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: war, genocide, anti-Semitism, child death, suicide, mental illness
The first installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).
A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.
This is such a powerful story. I knew that Maus was the author’s father’s story as a Holocaust survivor, but I did not realize it was also a memoir of the author’s complicated relationship with his father later in life and how the loss of his mother affected him. The simple black and white illustrations and the visual metaphor of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats (with bystanders and other animals) were an effective way to portray the horrors of the Holocaust in a visual medium. Stories like this are important for empathy and education, and this graphic novel is in no way “inappropriate” for middle and high school students.