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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.
Award-winning poet and novelist Anne Michaels gives us a love story of extraordinary depth and complexity, a mesmerizing tale that juxtaposes historical events with the most intimate moments of individual lives.
In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settles into a Nile River houseboat moored below the towering figures of Abu Simbel. Avery is one of the engineers responsible for the dismantling and reconstruction of the temple as it’s rescued from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam. He is a “machine-worshipper,” yet exquisitely sensitive to the dichotomy of creation and destruction of which machines are capable. Jean is a botanist by avocation and passion, interested in everything that grows. They had met on the banks of the St. Lawrence River and watched together as the construction of the seaway changed the course of the river and swallowed towns, homes, lives. Now, at the edge of another world about to be lost forever, Avery and Jean create their own world,…[more]