I actually haven't read this cover-to-cover (I just skimmed the transcript of the interview with Vladek at the end), nor have I checked out the CD that comes with the book yet (though I plan to), but the bulk of this book, which is an interview between Hillary Chute and Art Spiegelman was *fantastic*. If you're a hardcore fan of Maus
and are interested in Spiegelman's work in general, this is indispensable. Spiegelman is an incredibly intelligent and articulate man and reading about the creative process he undertook to create Maus
is beyond fascinating. You'll learn: Why make a comic about the Holocaust? Why comics in the first place? And why draw the people as animals? So much thought went into this work, and reading this extensive interview was very enlightening and has made me respect Spiegelman so much more. It's also worth noting how much respect he truly has for the subject matter of his work: the Holocaust, and his concern with the construction of memory and his struggles with it when creating Maus
Along with the amazing interview, this book is also chock-full of beautiful picture strewn throughout: sketches, notes (further illuminating the creative process), and other (shorter) works by Spiegelman that demonstrate his inspirations and influences. I also appreciated that when Chute or Spiegelman referred to specific pages from Maus
, they would provide those very page/s and/or panels for the reader to refer to, so that they could more easily understand and see what they were talking about.
Other awesome tidbits: there are interviews with Spiegelman's children (Nadja and Dash), and his wife Francoise Mouly; there's a detailed genealogy of the Spiegelman family that had an extensive family tree (the "Before the War" and "After the War" comparisons made me cringe.); the paper that this is printed on is very high quality, I love it.
Overall, this is a very extensive and thorough look at an amazing classic. Highly recommended.