cover image Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began

Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began

Art Spiegelman, Art Speigelman. Pantheon Books, $23 (135pp) ISBN 978-0-394-55655-0

Told in comic-strip format, the second half of Spiegelman's profoundly moving family memento of his parents' survival of the Holocaust and of his own coming to terms with their tragedies, should be as popular as the first installment ( Maus , 1987). A cartoon featuring Jews as mice, Germans as truculent cats and Poles as pigs might sound flip, but the quasi-innocent simplification of the comic-book genre turns out to be a surgical instrument baring the malignancy of adult evil. The action shuttles between the Catskills, where Spiegelman's father, Vladek, basks in retirement, and Nazi concentration camps, where Vladek and his wife, Anja, secretly communicated before their miraculous reunion. She committed suicide in 1968, leaving no note. There are moments of quirky, uneasy, liberating humor, but make no mistake, Maus II is deadly serious. A timeless book, it burns into the mind. (Nov.)