Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

Fugitive Pieces (original 1996; edition 1998)

by Anne Michaels

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,276482,809 (3.78)1 / 300
Title:Fugitive Pieces
Authors:Anne Michaels
Info:London : Bloomsbury, 1998
Collections:Novels & Novellas

Work details

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (1996)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (46)  Piratical (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Structurally muddled, unconvincing and overwrought narrations. A few scenes were interesting in their detail, but the story is ultimately a thin romance covered up by poetic prose. Though it's true that some of maxim-like formations and claims of the narration are brilliant, unfortunately the moralistic tone becomes a bit too much. ( )
  Algybama | Oct 21, 2015 |
I'm hovering between four and five for this. A million stars for the sections narrated by Jakob, but I was less fond of the latter two or three narrated by Ben. Still, reading some reviews, I was expecting something more obfuscating than what I got. This hit my sweet spot of lyrical but intelligible. Recommended!
  thebookmagpie | Jul 14, 2015 |
Once you are a few pages in, you won’t be surprised to learn this author is a poet. But this novel stands above most not because it says things well, but because it also has something to say. Insight rolls off the page. “The Jew is forever leaving Egypt.” Lines like these stick with me years later. A stellar novel. ( )
  DavidPaulKuhn | Jul 9, 2015 |
From what I remember, this was an assured and poetic debut novel which deeply impressed me. I would need to read it again to write a review that does it justice. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 4, 2014 |
You pick up a book about the Holocaust or World War II and you expect it to be powerful, you expect it to be moving or touching or force you to envision all kinds of things that should never be forgotten for the sake of those who were lost. What you don't expect is the perfection of a recipe that blends what you already know with some things you weren't familiar with, then stirs that together with the emotion of getting away while others did not. This book doesn't throw the events at you, but it does not ignore them either. It is the story of one boy who survives the tragedy of losing his family and lives on an island in relative contentment while others hide away or are lost forever. But his isn't the only survivor's guilt readers encounter.

The writing is simply excellent; each character's emotion shared with perfect clarity, each phrase or paragraph making you reflect and live, both at the same time. The book comes in two parts and the transition between the two is sharp and stunning, without much explanation for a short time, which reflects the nature of the need to change from one first person narrator to the other. That splitting of story and narrator also points out to us how one life can touch another, how we each bring change to those we meet. These little details draw the reader deeply in to the story.

Anne Michaels is a poet and the words within these pages show that with brilliance. If you read one book about surviving World War II, let it be this one. The emotional and verbal beauty put in to the retelling of the events of the holocaust is a more than fitting tribute to those who were not "buried in ground that will remember" them. ( )
1 vote mirrani | Jan 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For J
First words
During the Second World War, countless manuscripts -- diaries, memoirs, eyewitness accounts -- were lost or destroyed. Some of these narratives were deliberately hidden--buried in back gardens, tucked into walls and under floors--by those who did not live to retrieve them.
A parable: A respected rabbi is asked to speak to the congregation of a neighboring village. The rabbi, rather famous for his practical wisdom, is approached for advice wherever he goes. Wishing to have a few hours to himself on the train, he disguises himself in shabby clothes and, with his withered posture, passes for a peasant. The disguise is so effective that he evokes disapproving stares and whispered insults from the well-to-do passengers around him. When the rabbi arrives at his destination, he's met by the dignitaries of the community who greet him with warmth and respect, tactfully ignoring his appearance. Those who ridiculed him on the train realize his prominence and their error and immediately beg his forgiveness. The old man is silent. For months after, these Jews - who, after all, consider themselves good an pious men - implore the rabbi to absolve them. Finally, when almost a year has passed, they come to the old man on the Day of Awe when, it is written, each man must forgive his fellow. But the rabbi refuses to speak. Exasperated, they finally raise their voices: How can a holy man commit such a sin -- to withhold forgiveness on this day of days? The rabbi smiles seriously . "All this time you have been asking the wrong man. You must ask the man on the train to forgive you."
The night you and I met, Jakob, I heard you tell my wife that there's a moment when love makes us believe in death for the first time. You recognize the one whose loss, even contemplated, you'll carry forever, like a sleeping child. All grief, anyone's grief, you said, is the weight of a sleeping child.
She was stopping to say goodbye and was caught, in such pain, wanting to rise, wanting to stay.
My father said, 'That man is a Hebrew and he carries the pride of his people.' Later I learned that most of the men who worked at the docks in Salonika were Jews and that the yehudi mahallari, the Hebrew quarter, was built along the harbour.
Translation is a kind of transubstantiation; one poem becomes another. You can choose your philosophy of translation just as you could choose how to live: the free adaptation that sacrifices detail to meaning, the strict crib that sacrifices meaning to exactitude. The poet moves from life to language, the translator moves from language to life; both, like the immigrant, try to identify the invisible, what’s between the lines, the mysterious implications.”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679776591, Paperback)

Anne Michaels, an accomplished poet, has already published two collections of poetry in her native Canada. She turns her hand to fiction in an impressive debut novel, Fugitive Pieces. This is the story of Jakob Beer, a Polish Jew, translator, and poet who, as a child, witnessed his family's slaughter at the hands of the Nazis. Beer himself was found and smuggled out of Poland by Athos Roussos, a Greek archaeologist who carried him back to Greece and kept him there in precarious safety. After the war they emigrated together to Canada. Jakob's story is told through diaries discovered by Ben, a young man whose parents are Holocaust survivors and who is a vessel for their memories just as Jakob is the bearer of his own.

Fugitive Pieces is a book about memory and forgetting. How is it possible to love the living when our hearts are still with the dead? What is the difference between what historical fact tells us and what we remember? More than that, the novel is a meditation on the power of language to free our souls and allow us to find our own destinies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A tale of Holocaust survival whose protagonist is Jakob Beer, a Jewish boy in Poland. He is saved from death by a Greek scientist who takes him home to his island, where Beer develops an interest in archeology. He describes the way the Nazis manipulated archeology to prove the superiority of the Aryan race. A first novel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
28 avail.
64 wanted
6 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.78)
0.5 2
1 8
1.5 5
2 39
2.5 14
3 85
3.5 27
4 131
4.5 28
5 124

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,884,107 books! | Top bar: Always visible