Maus-Art Spiegelman

 

I can’t say I’ve ever read an entire comic book in my life, let alone a Pulitzer Prize winning one, yet I flew through this harrowing true story of survival.

Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman and his survival of the Second World War and Auschwitz, as told by his son, years later in New York. The author, Art, is currently the contributing editor and artist for the New Yorker, and he uses his talents for drawing to retell the trauma his father went through, while trying to exercise his own demons relating to his relationship with his parents, and particularly his mothers suicide.   

This dark story is constructed with postmodern flair, with the artist assuming the mask of a mouse, and often referring back to himself, his illusion and the process of drawing the cartoon. Yet he gently guides the reader through war torn Poland through the eyes of his aging father.

The story is poignant and powerful, not for the faint of heart but without a doubt worth the challenge of reading it. I paired this with the glorious Plaisir De Merle 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns-Khaled Hosseini

  

One of the things that I love most about books, is their ability to transport you to a time and place that you would never be able to experience otherwise.

This is precisely what Hosseini’s exquisitely crafted novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, does for the reader. While I haven’t read Hosseini’s debut novel, The Kite Runner, this second story is a triumph. 

It follows the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, fighting to survive under Soviet rule, civil war and the Taliban. The themes that Hosseini explores include the role of women in Islam, masculinity and the power of truth. Hosseini is subtle in his exploration of these topics, showing husbands and fathers to be cruel to these two women, yet also showing the nuances of their roles through the redemptive characters of Tariq and Babi.

All in all this is an excellently weaved narrative which is both moving and insightful. I did pair this book with several wines, but in respect of Islamic tradition I’ll let you discover your own pairing for this story.

Happy reading