Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

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Fugitive Pieces tells the story of Jakob Beer, an orphan during the Second World War. Through poetic narrative, Beer gives his first hand account of losing his sister, Bella, and his parents to the Nazis, being found starved and nearly dead in the forest by a Greek Archeologist who adopts and raises him. Throughout the book you witness as Beer learns to find peace with ghosts of his family by finding solace, happiness and love. In the end Beer learns to turn his painful past into a successful novel which documents his life and the untold stories of many like him who were less fortunate to live to tell theirs.

In addition to chapters, the book is separated into two sections. The first section is Jakob's account of his life and of the untold history of the Jews. The second section is the story of Ben, the son of Jakob's neighbor's who had also had a traumatic childhood due to his abusive world war two traumatized father. Luckily Ben learns to find solace in Jacob, who despite having lived through his familiy´s abduction and abandonment had taken a soft and reserved disposition similar as that to Ben´s nature.

The beginning is rather slow as it describes in detail archeological and historical terms that deal with Jacob´s memories of Athos, the Greek Archaelogist, and his childhood. There are also whole paragraphs describing Jacob´s memories in a mix of poetry and anaolgies. In all it is the type of book that you appreciate with every read and it sometimes takes multiple reads to let the deepness of Michaels observations on human nature, memory, love, and nostalgia sink in. I think it´s safe to say that this book is for those who believe that philosophy is more than men sitting in the shade of olive trees on boulders and contemplating life and that poetry is more than words that rhyme. I loved it because it was unique, tender, realistic, and historically rich. This book is difficult to fit into a category of literature, so I´d recommend it to anyone who likes to read a story that lingers. And after you read it, or if you like short cuts, the movie also adequately tells the jest of the story.





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