The power of Maus doesn’t require such exhaustive explanation and annotation, but those with a taste for it will find their...

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METAMAUS

A LOOK INSIDE A MODERN CLASSIC, MAUS

Everything you ever wanted to know about the creation, impact and aftereffects of Maus.

The cultural significance of the Pulitzer Prize–winning work by Spiegelman (In the Shadow of No Towers, 2004) is beyond dispute. Not only did it establish the critical respectability and mainstream market for what have come to be called “graphic novels,” but its unsentimental account of family tragedy and dynamics showed a way that art could deal with death-camp genocide without descending into what the author terms “Holokitsch.” On the 25th anniversary of the publication of Maus I, this volume serves as the publishing industry’s version what the music industry markets as a box set—with extended bonus material, contextual analyses and previously unreleased cuts (some 7,500 drawings and sketches are but a small fraction of the offerings on the accompanying DVD). Included within the book are an exhaustive interview with the author by English professor Hillary Chute, shorter (but not short) interviews with his wife and their offspring on the artist and his art, plenty of illustrations from sketchbooks and inspirations, family photos, family trees, rejection letters (from major publishers), the source-material transcript of the author’s discussions with his father about the latter’s experiences in Auschwitz and Dachau and the original three-page version of “Maus” from 1972 that spawned the two-volume masterpiece. For Spiegelman, the key questions to address (at length) provide chapter titles: “Why the Holocaust?”; “Why Mice?”; “Why Comics?” The answers are intermittently fascinating and often provocative, though only an obsessive or an academic is likely to need a two-page response to the question: “You kept lots of pictures of mice and other animals around while you were working. Which ones were especially significant?” Yet the accompanying DVD will satisfy the insatiable appetite, with “a digital reference copy of The Complete Maus” (with audio and visual links) plus “MetaMeta” supplements that make the printed volume seem like an appetizer.

The power of Maus doesn’t require such exhaustive explanation and annotation, but those with a taste for it will find their appreciation enhanced.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-42394-9

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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