Maus, Volume 2: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
You need to have read Volume 1 of Maus before you read Volume 2, so this is not something you can skip around on. You need the context and background of the first volume, because Spiegelman takes a leap in time, assuming you have already read the first volume. That said, let’s jump right into Volume 2.
Spiegelman takes a few steps forward in time, this time introducing his own wife into the story. His father’s health is failing, but there are so many unanswered questions that Spiegelman still holds. A summer visit to his father’s cottage begins to address some of these. At some point, both Vladek and Anja are captured and sent to concentration camps, worried they’ll never see each other again (as happened with almost all of their family and friends). Vladek survives with his tradesman skills and proficiency of languages, Anja by befriending a woman who is mistress to one of the officers. Together, they observe the horrific crimes taking place against their fellow people and work together to keep their faith and hope alive.
Because Spiegelman is telling the story, you know how that part ends. But what is also interesting are the moments of the crafting of Maus that Spiegelman interjects, whether through panels of him listening to the recordings or sitting at his desk to write. The writing of writing is interesting and should give the reader pause on how we narrate and construct history—especially if it is not ours.
If you’ve never read Maus, you should. The history of oppression of marginalized peoples by fascistic powers is not funny or cute. Serious suffering takes place, and we cannot—we must not—look away from it if we are to avoid repeating the same crimes that others committed. I don’t mean to get political for partisanship’s sake, but as a human committed to the well-being of my fellow humans, please, for the love of God, speak out against hate. Do not look away or normalize violence. Keep those in power accountable to all of us, not just you. I plan to speak out against the wave of fascism I see surging in the United States, and I hope you’ll join me.