Okay. If you’ve been reading my blog now (and I sincerely hope you have been, quite frankly if you haven’t, then you should be ashamed of yourselves) then you will know that I love Tintin. I also love Star Trek. These statements should not be front-page news to you, my dearest faithful readers and followers. However one of my other big loves is not something I have discussed before until now, but what with the amount of media surrounding him of late, I feel it is time to do so.
Anyone who knows me knows of my love for the band Pulp, and indeed their leader singer, Jarvis Cocker. I’m not going to turn this into a biography about him; I’m sure you’re all well aware of Common People and Disco 2000, but I just wanted to say how thrilled I was to learn that he has just been appointed as editor-at-large at Faber & Faber. Jarvis begins his two-year role at the famous publishers in January, an extended relationship if you will with Faber as this week saw the publication of his book of collected lyrics, Mother, Brother, Lover. The book houses seventy-odd lyrics that Jarvis has penned in his thirty-year musical career, and while all, or most, of the hits are in the book, album tracks and B-sides should most definitely not be ignored as these songs arguably contain Jarvis’ most biting, harsh and socially-observing lyrics. If I’m a geek about absolutely anything it’s Pulp’s back catalogue and so this book is something of a bible to me. The title has tickled me too; having listened to Pulp since I was fourteen I knew instantly why Jarvis had named his book so. And if you’re a fan of Jarvis’ quintessentially-English brilliance, you’ll know why too. The geek did inherit the Earth.
A proof copy of a book I have written about before here on the blog has landed on my desk this last week, a book which accompanies one of the greatest personal accounts of the Holocaust in literature history. I am talking about Art Spiegelman’s Maus, which tells the biography of the author’s parents and the life they endured in Auschwitz.
Originally Maus was published in two parts; My Father Bleeds History was published in 1986 and its sequel, Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began, completed the masterpiece in 1991. In the Maus books Spiegelman drew in graphic novel form his father’s experiences and life in Hitler’s Europe; how his father met his mother when they lived in Poland and were in fact quite wealthy and ran a series of successful factories prior to the Nazi invasion. None of this could help them avoid their fate of what was to come; they would be double-crossed into thinking they had found a train from Poland to Hungary, finally getting away from the War, when in actual fact it was taking them directly into Auschwitz. And here they stayed, until the Americans decided to show up.
I have written about Maus before; what I want to bring to your attention is this new book entitled MetaMaus, which is being published at the beginning of November to accompany and coincide with the 25th anniversary of Maus P1’s original release. The book, just from looking at it and not even having opened, looks already more than worth the £25 RRP. A heavy hardback, it has a spine of canvas bursting at the seams with more history and artwork you never knew existed about the legacy of Maus and the Spiegelmans’ lives in Nazi Germany. There is wonderfully also a treat of a DVD with the book, comprising audio interviews, photos, notebooks, unseen drawings, original drafts of Maus and more. This is the absolute tribute to the only graphic novel to have ever won the Pulitzer, and quite rightly so. Through MetaMaus, Maus will continue its legacy and will ensure that it is studied and referred to as one of the most harrowing true-life accounts of the Holocaust in history.