This book is absolutely, undeniably brilliant from start to finish. In Maus I and II, Spiegelman layers the story of his father's survival of the Holocaust with his own achingly humorous (or humorously aching?) interactions with his father, effectively displaying the ways in which the horrors have reverberated through time and into the present, rather than remaining a fixed historical occurence. Spiegelman is brutally honest about who his father is and the realities experienced, and the reader has no choice but to be swept into the story, transfixed and horrified. Spiegelman tells the story through the format of a graphic novel and uses animals to represent various groups. On the surface, one may think the media he chooses should ultimately simplify the Holocaust experience, perhaps watering it down to a juvenile level. In my opinion, however, quite the opposite occurs. There are nuances in this book that make themselves felt. There are juxtapositions that stun the reader with their power. Ultimately, in experiencing this novel, I grieved as much as I ever did reading Wiesel's night and watching Lanzmann's Shoah not only for those who perished (z"l), but also for those who survived and who would never be the same.