Fugitive PiecesBook - 1997
This first novel from an award-winning poet -- a #1 best-seller in Canada -- is certain to propel her into the front ranks of our very best practitioners of contemporary fiction.
It is a story of World War II as remembered and imagined by one of its survivors: a poet named Jakob Beer, traumatically orphaned as a young child and smuggled out of Poland, first to a Greek island (where he will return as an adult), and later to Toronto. It is the story of how, over his lifetime, Jakob learns the power of language -- to destroy, to omit, to obliterate, but also to restore and to conjure, witness and tell -- as he comes to understand and experience what was lost to him and of what is possible for him to regain.
Profoundly moving, brilliantly written -- as sensual and lyric as it is emotionally resonant -- Fugitive Pieces delves into the most difficult workings of the human heart and mind: the grief and healing of remembrance. It is a first novel of astonishing achievement.
Baker & Taylor
A young orphan smuggled out of Poland during World War II, poet Jakob Beer comes to understand the extraordinary power of language to destroy, restore, and witness as he struggles to cope with both grief and the healing of memory
Blackwell North Amer
Anne Michaels's fiercely beautiful debut novel tells the interlocking stories of three men of different generations whose lives are transformed by the events and shifting effects of the same war. At its center is poet Jakob Beer: traumatically orphaned as a young boy during the Second World war, rescued from the mud of a buried Polish city and secreted to a Greek island by Athos Roussos, scientist, scholar, and, above all, humanist.
After the war, in Toronto, where Athos has accepted a teaching post at the University, Jakob is faced with the tangible, insistent nature of the recent past: his own surfacing in all its darkness and profundity, the question of his beloved sister's fate its harrowing focus. Yet this is also the time when he meets the woman who will become his first wife, and begins his life-long work as a translator and poet. And in this layered process of reentering life, Jakob learns the power of language - to destroy, to omit, and to obliterate; but also to witness and tell, conjure and restore.
And it is in Toronto as well that, late in his life, Jakob will cross paths with Ben: a young professor, expert in the dramas of weather and biography but naive in the drama of his own life. The quiet elation Ben senses in the older man, and Ben's own connection to the wounding legacies of the war, kindle a fascination with Jakob and his writing, upsetting and then opening that part of himself long since shut down against his knowledge of the past.
A young orphan smuggled out of Poland during World War II, poet Jakob Beer comes to understand the extraordinary power of language to destroy, restore, and witness as he struggles to cope with both grief and the healing of memory. A first novel. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.
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I knew I must not open my mouth. The misery of bones that must be broken in order to be set straight.
Sometimes we need both hands to climb out of a place. Sometimes there are steep places, where one has to walk ahead of the other. If I can't find you, I'll look deeper in myself. If I can't keep up, if you're far ahead, look back. Look back.
It's not a persons depth you must discover,but their ascent. Find their path from depth to ascent.
When a man dies, his secrets bond like crystals, like frost on a window. His last breath obscures the glass.
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