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Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

Fugitive Pieces (original 1996; edition 1998)

by Anne Michaels

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2,388522,615 (3.78)1 / 305
Title:Fugitive Pieces
Authors:Anne Michaels
Info:London : Bloomsbury, 1998
Collections:Novels & Novellas

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Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (1996)


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English (49)  Piratical (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  English (52)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
There was a lyrical, magical intensity until Athos’ death, then a gradual sloughing of meaning and intensity until Part Two which I found jangling and distasteful.
( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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!
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
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!
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Beautifully and poetically written. I wish that Jakob Beer was a real person, so I could read his poetry and get to know him better. Anne Michaels is an outstanding writer. The subject of this book was a difficult one, but she made it easy to read, by not being explicit about it. I would love to buy a copy of this book, and read it again. I can't praise this book enough! ( )
  AmieB7 | Jan 21, 2016 |
Fugitive Pieces Anne Michaels
This is a beautifully written poetic book from the opening line "Time is a blind guide" to the closing sentence "I see that I must give what I most need"
The main story in the book is that of Jakob Beer a Jewish boy who escapes the Nazis by submerging himself in the mud of the drowned Polish city of Biskupin where he is found by Greek archaeologist Athos.
Athos takes Jakob to his native homeland Zakynthos and keeps him safe throughout the war, they eventually emigrate together to Canada.
Athos teaches Jakob to live with the past and what has happened to his family to explore history and geology and to embrace poetry, life and love. Their relationship is one to inspire and to be treasured.
Some of my favourite quotes:
"Bela, Bella: Once I was lost in a forest. I was so afraid. My blood pounded in my chest and I knew my heart's strength would soon be exhausted. I saved myself without thinking. I grasped the two syllables closest to me, and replaced my heartbeat with your name"
"To survive was to escape fate. But if you escape your fate, whose life do you then step into?"
"Nothing is sudden. Not an explosion - planned, timed, wired carefully - not the burst door. Just as the earth invisibly prepares its cataclysms, so history is a gradual instant"
With poetical writing like this I couldn't fail to be moved by the whole book, Anne Michaels has a real gift for capturing human emotion. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
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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.”
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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)

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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)

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