Maus is a story of the holocaust but told in the form of a graphic novel. Spiegelman’s father Vladek experienced the holocaust and this is the story of his growing up in Poland until the Nazis invade, and how eventually he finds himself in Auschwitz. It’s the story of his survival against enormous odds, but it also covers some of his life in America after the war is over.
One of the unusual things about the book is the way in which the characters are depicted as animals. The Jews are mice, the Nazis cats and the Poles are pigs for example. Despite this, I found the character of everyone came over just as well as if they had been depicted as human. It may seem a strange format to use for a book on the holocaust but it works on many levels. It’s accessible, it’s far from the usual books about the subject and it’s also very well written. The depiction of characters as animals also worked very well and in a strange way I felt it added to the story.