Title: Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
Creator: Art Spiegelman
Series: Maus #2
Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Audience: Adult (appropriate for teens and up)
Length: 144 pages
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Release Date: September 1, 1992
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: war, death, genocide, anti-Semitism, racism
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.
Maus II continues to explore Art’s contentious relationship with his elderly father Vladek while recounting Vladek’s experiences during the Holocaust. Volume 1 explores more of the lead up and early days of the Holocaust; in Volume II, Vladek recalls how he survived his time in a concentration camp. Everything about the way this graphic memoir is told through text and visuals and story devices is complex, emotional, and impactful.