Fugitive Pieces

Fugitive Pieces A New York Times Notable Book of the Year Winner of the Lannan Literary Fiction Award Winner of the Guardian Fiction Award In a boy bursts from the mud of a war torn Polish city where he has bur

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year Winner of the Lannan Literary Fiction Award Winner of the Guardian Fiction Award In 1940 a boy bursts from the mud of a war torn Polish city, where he has buried himself to hide from the soldiers who murdered his family His name is Jakob Beer He is only seven years old And although by all rights he should have shared the fateA New York Times Notable Book of the Year Winner of the Lannan Literary Fiction Award Winner of the Guardian Fiction Award In 1940 a boy bursts from the mud of a war torn Polish city, where he has buried himself to hide from the soldiers who murdered his family His name is Jakob Beer He is only seven years old And although by all rights he should have shared the fate of the other Jews in his village, he has not only survived but been rescued by a Greek geologist, who does not recognize the boy as human until he begins to cry With this electrifying image, Anne Michaels ushers us into her rapturously acclaimed novel of loss, memory, history, and redemption As Michaels follows Jakob across two continents, she lets us witness his transformation from a half wild casualty of the Holocaust to an artist who extracts meaning from its abyss Filled with mysterious symmetries and rendered in heart stopping prose, Fugitive Pieces is a triumphant work, a book that should not so much be read as it should be surrendered to.

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Fugitive Pieces

  1. From Canadian Poetry Online Anne Michaels was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1958 She is the author of one novel Fugitive Pieces, which explores the possibility of love and faith alter the Holocaust, with language marked by power, elegance, and integrity Ms Michaels, who has also composed musical scores for the theater, has said when you put a tremendous amount of love into your work, as in any relationship, you can t know you can only hope that what you re offering will in some way be received You shape your love to artistic demands, to the rigors of your genre But still, it s a labor of love, and it s the nature of love that you must give it freely Anne Michaels s two collections of poetry are The Weight of Oranges 1986 , which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas, and Miner s Pond 199 l , winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award and shortlisted for the Governor General s Award and the Trillium Award Both collections have recently been released in one paperback volume entitled The Weight of Organges Miner s Pond, published by McClelland Stewart With her first novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year Award, and won the Trillium Prize, the Chapters Books in Canada First Novel Award, The Beatrice and Martin Fischer Award the main prize in the Jewish Book Awards , and England s prestigious Orange Prize Rights to the novel were sold to over 19 countries And her novel, Fugitive Pieces, was made into a motion picture in 2007 Anne Michaels lives in Toronto In 2007, she published a book of poems, Skin Divers Her latest novel is The Winter Vault, published by McClelland Stewart in 2009.

282 Reply to “Fugitive Pieces”

  1. it seems to be something of a sin to give this book any fewer than four stars and were i rating it solely on the beauty of its language, it would be an easy five star book but as a novel, it missed the mark for me somewhat, so it is really just a high three for me i know blasphemer the poetry as novel thing can be a truly wonderful beast, or it can leave the reader wanting story, impact, cohesion reading this book made me long to re read Justine, which is an example of this style done perfec [...]

  2. To survive was to escape fate But if you escape your fate, whose life do you then step into Jakob Beer is a Holocaust survivor At the age of seven, he is rescued while on the run a fugitive of sorts from the death grip of the Nazis His mother, father and beloved sister Bella are not so fortunate Jakob will spend a lifetime trying to piece together the memories of his past and those he loved The writing is simply astonishing The prose often reads like poetry and the effect is quite powerful I act [...]

  3. The past is never dead It s not even past William FaulknerJakob Beer understands love He also understands loss He understands love as only a man who has lost and found it once again can He finds it in the faces of those who come after the tragedy and in the memories of those who have never come out of it We all have our way to communicate with those long gone Only, while we change, they stay the same We wish to keep those memories alive for as long as we can But time is merciless When we have lo [...]

  4. The story itself is straight forward and easy to follow not all characters are developed fully , but the overall plot and the depth of the plot is clearautiful in its waysd powerful The lyrical crafting is luminousJakob Beer s parents and sister, Bella, were killed in his home victims of the Nazi reign in Europe Jakob is now an orphan age 7 He flees into the marshes and forests in Poland and meets a Greek Geologist, Athos Roussos who takes pity on him and smuggles Jakob to the Greek island of Za [...]

  5. This novel often reminded me of what a brilliant accomplishment Virginia Woolf s The Waves is There are parallels The piecing together of shards, of fugitive pieces, the deployment of one narrative to unravel another, in an attempt to complete biography It s not, of course, as good as The Waves few novels are The first part of the novel is narrated by Jakob Beer He is seven when his parents are murdered by Nazi soldiers His beloved sister, Bella is abducted and will become the ghost that haunts [...]

  6. Together, my 75 y o mother and her 82 y o sister, spent a whole month last month vacation here in the Philippines mostly in my house For few days, they went to our province, the town they were born When they came back, my mother showed me a bunch of old photographs Included in those were the pictures of her parents My grandparents It was amazing how they could still tell the stories behind each of the photograph as if they were only taken a few years ago When we came to those of her own parents [...]

  7. 5 starsOne of the wisest and most beautiful books I have ever readA book about longing, loss, grief, beauty and love.I would reread whole chapters, sentences and phrases and then actually either ache with wistfulness or weep with bittersweet joy I felt myself transforming as I read this for the better and I think it will continue to have effects on me for many months and years ahead A rare jewel that I will take out from time to time from its box and put it against the night sky and watch it spa [...]

  8. Literary ambrosia This gets at least six stars from me I stubbornly avoided this book for a long time because the promotional blurb just didn t make it sound appealing to me I finally gave it a try so I could stop wondering why it won half a dozen awards and shows up on must read lists everywhere I look I m so glad I did The blurb doesn t even begin to tell you about the book as you ll experience it while reading If you re the left brain dominant sort who needs everything spelled out in flat lit [...]

  9. Finally, I have finished this one I loved the cover and a quick flick through excited me because the writing was poetic and lyrical and the prologue about lost manuscripts from people who wrote about the holocaust was tantalising.The story is about a young Jewish boy, Jacob Beer who, while hiding, witnesses the slaughter of his parents and the abduction of his sister, presumably for the death camps, by the Nazi police in Poland He survives living in the marshland outside the town until he is res [...]

  10. I see that I must give what I most need It s not easy to sustain a poetic voice for almost three hundred pages though Virginia Woolf managed it brilliantly for two hundred in The Waves And as a result of this difficulty this wasn t always compelling At times the writing is stunning and it s brilliant how much poetry and pathos she manages to extract from everyday detail At other times the unrelenting insistency on poetry felt a bit strained as if there was too much idealising going on.It s a nov [...]

  11. Fugitive Pieces is a beautiful elegy in narrative prose It made me very sad The book maintains a level of poetic creativity and exquisite writing about Holocaust survivors who are trying to live as normal people do and not to corrosively mourn forever after the devastation of the Holocaust and of surviving it Short version can t be done But making an effort mitigates the PTSD, even if it doesn t put the pieces all back where they were.Holocaust survivor and poet Jakob Beer narrates the first two [...]

  12. Smug, self serving twaddle.Yes, Michaels has a way with metaphor But metaphor also gets away from her This book is relentless in its poetic manner if I want that sort of thing I ll read Ondaatje and frankly I m amazed his lawyers didn t sue for plagiarism Michaels, primarily, I m told, a poet, has no sense of narrative pacing witness the late intrusion of another story and no sense of narrative voice witness the fact that this second voice sounds exactly like the first and neither, despite the f [...]

  13. I did not witness the most important events of my life My deepest story must be told by a blind man, a prisoner of sound From behind a wall, from underground From the corner of a small house on a small island that juts like a bone from the skin of sea Early in her brooding, shadowy, aching novel, Anne Michaels sets out the central conflict of her principal character, Jakob Beer Jakob s family is slaughtered one winter night in 1940 the seven year old boy hides in a hollow in the wall, then escap [...]

  14. There are few words to describe how annoying I found this book I just don t seem to be either an Orange Prize reader or a good target audience for novels penned by authors who are, as Michaels is described, primarily poets I love poetry it was actually my first love, and novels came later I ve also loved quite a few great novels written by first class poets However, this isn t a rule of thumb and is actually very often simply an exception Poetry and narrative writing are just not the same thing [...]

  15. I want to put this book in a bowl, pour syrup over it, and eat it with a spoon.It made me cry Actually, it made me ugly cry What is there to say

  16. There are so many books on the holocaust that it has almost dulled the magnitude of the atrocity But this novel, written by Canadian poet, Ann Michaels, is phenomenal Her lyrical sentence structure will capture you right away and the story line is profound A young Jewish boy is the only one to escape a raid by the Gestapo on the family because he has hidden in a secret place in the pantry After hiding in the woods this is Poland for many days, he finds and is found by a Greek archaeologist who i [...]

  17. I ve never had a complaint like this about a book I ve read the language was too beautiful I would come across a line like I ran until the first light wrung the last greyness out of the stars, dripping dirty light between the trees and stop and marvel over it, and in doing so, I would lose track of what was going on Each sentence is crafted like that Each sentence is like a part of a poem, which makes sense, because Anne Michaels is a poet But sometimes I just wanted the story to go on I also wa [...]

  18. I m torn with this book On the one hand the prose is so dense and rich, poetic and downright stunning On the other hand the story left me a little hollow Reading this I had the perpetual feeling that I was trying to see through a foggy window, barely seeing And yet, there was so much feeling Characters appear as if in a dream and dissolve away Frustrating Yes But isn t that how life is People leave People die And we feel the loss forever, as the characters in this book do I m not surprised to le [...]

  19. After watching the film of the same name, I wondered why I had not been similarly moved by the novel Now I remember why I was underwhelmed the first time The deeply moving, achingly intense first part of the book is irredeemably overshadowed by the clunky one that follows The first part is told by Jakob Beer, 7 years old at the start he is in hiding when he sees his parents killed by the Nazis and his older sister Bella disappear After fleeing he is rescued by Athos Roussos an archaeologist, and [...]

  20. Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them I promise promise promise that I m not going to fall into the habit of simply posting quotations and extracts in my reviews However, the writing of Anne Michaels in this, her debut and award winning novel is so stunningly poetic, so all consuming, so remarkable, that I can t help but echo some voices here At night, a few lights marked port and starboard of these gargantuan industrial forms, and I filled them with loneliness I listened to [...]

  21. Beautiful and touching I wasn t expecting the short, fragmented sentence structure of this book but it works The fragments pieces tell snapshots of the confused and painful upbringings of Jakob, a child who survived the killing of his family in the Holocaust, and Ben, a child born of two Holocaust survivors Each perspective brings guilt, fear and pain into the lives of Jakob Ben and threatens to overpower them in their adult lives A beautiful book about love and its powers.

  22. 2 Stars Okay bookTo say that I was underwhelmed by this book would be a fair assessment I did not connect to anything in this book The story sounded promising but ultimately fell flat.The structure seemed similar to a stream of consciousness and it did not work for me It felt disjointed and confusing Maybe I m missing something but I think this style and form detracts from the story Reading it was exhausting and slightly annoying The writing itself isn t great It s not that the writing is compli [...]

  23. This book is so many things bits of philosopy, history, biography In the very brief __ prologue is written A man s experience of war never ends with the war I have observed this recently in my reviews of some novels about WWI, and the soldiers who fought In large part, rather than bits, this novel is the psychological effects of WWII and Jews There are two parts The first part is told by Jakob Beer, who escaped as a child, then was rescued, hidden, protected The second part is told by the son of [...]

  24. One day you wake up and find all the pieces of your chess set gone They have fled and implanted themselves in a board of another game It can t be, you protest, it makes no sense Chess pieces belong to the chess board Their meaning is dictated by its board of sixty four squares Outside of it they are but an aberration These rooks, knights, bishops, pawns, kings and queens had always been with this sixty four square board for at least two thousand years The wayward chess pieces, however, begin to [...]

  25. This is a reflection on love and loss in the context of the holocaust and those who survived Jakob is rescued when seven years old his family has been arrested by the Nazis by Athos, a Greek archealogist who takes him home and brings him up You are told about Jakob s death at the very beginning of the book, aged 60 with his young wife The story begins in Poland, then to Greece, Canada and back to Greece where Jakob meets the love of his life.Anne Michaels is a poet and the language and descripti [...]

  26. This is a very different kind of novel It is almost at times a stream of consciousness where the character s thoughts and memories simply flow out This makes for some exceptional writing but not a particularly easy or gripping read.We start off with our main character, Jakob Beer, as a young Jewish boy Jakob s town is attacked and he is rescued by a Greek man who takes him back to a Greek island Athos raised Jakob and protects him through the war The relationship between Jakob and Athos is stark [...]

  27. The most beautifully written book I ve read in a very long time And describing such horror which makes the language used all the powerful It really is a very long prose poem, I think It functions as a poem, in terms of the vignettes and how they resonate with each other So many layers of meaning, like the limestone The strength of the central metaphor memory, time and experience as geological holds it all together, than plot character More to say later I want to do a review of this that will c [...]

  28. Lo nico que se puede hacer por los muertos es cantarles El himno, el miroloy, el kaddish En los guetos, quando si mor a un ni o, la madre le cantaba una nana Porque no ten a otra cosa que ofrecer de su ser, de su cuerpo Se la inventaba, una canci n de consuelo, mencionando todos los juguetes preferidos del ni o Y la gente las o a y se las pasaban los unos a los otros y, al pasar de las generaciones, esa cancioncilla es lo nico que queda que pueda decirnos algo de ese ni o p gina 255

  29. I know, mesmerising is abused in far too many movie trailers, but it is the word best describes the effect this book had on me When I say the book, I rather meant its main part there are two of them, with two different narrators, and it is Jakob Beer s that had me hooked The final part felt somewhat contrived, less fluent and natural, both in plot if we can talk of plot and in the prose itself But the first part alone is magnificent, wonderful read.

  30. This is such a beautiful, fragile, tender, introspective, haunting, even sensual book It quietly touches around the edges of generational trauma after WWII, and how the sadness, grief, unimaginable horrors trickle down soundlessly through people that follow the genetic lines of survivors of concentration camps I very slowly made my way through this book It was like taking too much on at a time was just too heavy for me to carry The writing is exquisite Untouchable, like the story itself I absolu [...]

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