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Insightful,
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3 reviews

Fugitive Pieces: A Novel
by Anne Michaels

Published: 1998-05-26
Paperback : 294 pages
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1 member has read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
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. ...
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Introduction

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 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.

Editorial Review

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.

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Suggested by Members

There were no canned questions available for "Fugitive Pieces" but it was made into a movie and it might be interesting to watch the movie as well.
by jmbs52 (see profile) 02/20/10

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Member Reviews

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by CathUnit (see profile) 04/08/15

 
  "Fugitive Pieces"by shjoyce (see profile) 10/15/10

Usually books concerning the Holocaust are extremely depressing but this one is a story of hope, survival in the middle of extreme pain. Ultimately it's an inspiring, thoughtful tale that would produce... (read more)

 
  "Fugitve Pieces by Anne Michaels"by jmbs52 (see profile) 02/20/10

Our group loved the language and Jakob's story. Poignant would be a good descriptor. One member(a family counselor by trade)felt Athos, Jakob, and Ben's parents were accurate portrayals of what today we... (read more)

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