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Fugitive Pieces [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Anne Michaels , Diego Matamoras , Neil Munro
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2003
It is just months before the Nazi occupation of Poland, and, from the mud of a buried city, Jakob Beer, an orphaned Jewish boy, finds himself rescued by an unlikely saviour. He is saved by the geologist and humanist Athos Roussos, who takes him to his Greek island home where he becomes his student. But the trauma of Jakob's early life refuses to leave him. Living forever in the shadow of the Holocaust, although Jakob has escaped the most terrible fate of all, he must yet steel himself to excavate the horrors of his own history.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BTC Audiobooks; Abridged edition (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0864922493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864922496
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.7 x 0.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,956,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Michaels is the author of three collections of poetry: The Weight of Oranges, which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas; Miner's Pond, which won the Canadian Authors Association Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Award; and Skin Divers. Her first novel, Fugitive Pieces, was published by Bloomsbury in 1997 to worldwide critical acclaim. It won the Orange Prize and the Guardian First Book Award among others, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year Award. It was also made into a major motion picture. Anne Michaels has also composed music for the theatre.

Born in 1958, Anne Michaels lives in Toronto.

(Photo credit: David Laurence)

Product Description

Review

'This is a novel to lose yourself in; let the language pour over you, depositing its richness like waves lapping sand onto a beach. Michaels is a novelist of unusual and compelling power' The Times 'All but a handful of contemporary novels are dwarfed by its reach, its compassion, its wisdom This is a book to read many times. I simply can't imagine a better being published this year' Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Prize Winner
Fugitive Pieces won the 1997 Orange prize for Fiction. John Berger said: 'The most important, beautifully important book I have read for forty years....' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love's Perpetual Thrist 19 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Fugitive Pieces is Canadian poet Anne Michaels' first novel and it is beautiful in the extreme. At the heart of this lovely and moving book is the struggle to understand the despair of loss and the solace of love and, most of all, the difficulty of reconciling the two. The protagonists are two Jewish men, one a Holocaust survivor, the other the son of Holocaust survivor parents.
Material such as that explored in Fugitive Pieces could very easily become trite and cliched, but in Michaels' extraordinarily gifted hands suffering, loss and grief become nothing less than transcendent. An extraordinarily gifted writer, Michaels creates wonderful characters and tells an engrossing story through the use of gorgeous, but spare, dialogue and subtle metaphor.
The plot is a rather simple one (this is definitely a character driven story) but it is profound and also a profoundly moving meditation on the nature of grief and the redemptive power of love. The first line in the book, "Time is a blind guide," is haunting, but it is also ironic, for the story will prove that time is anything but blind.
One of the protagonists, Jakob Beer, was orphaned as a seven-year old boy in Poland. Although the death of his parents affects Jakob most greviously, it is his sorrow at the death of his beloved older sister, Bella, that will remain with him for a lifetime. Jakob, himself, escapes the Nazis and flees into the forests of Poland where he is rescued by a Greek geologist, Athos Roussos, who eventually smuggles the boy to the Greek island of Zakynthos.
On Zakynthos, Jakob can finally begin to put his life back together again. He is, however, haunted by memories of Bella, a gifted pianist.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure 4 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
It is obvious that Fugitive Pieces is a beatifully written novel, the language is descriptive and flowing and it is dripping with poetry. However, my enjoyment of the novel was lessened somewhat by how I'd heard other people describe it - "Overpowering", "Breathtaking", and some said they could only read it in small bursts it was so intense. This made me realise that I didn't feel like that at all, that I wasn't overwhelmed or pinned to my seat or anything, it just seemed like a poetic novel that i knew i should be affected by but wasn't.
Despite this, Fugitive Pieces is thought provoking and intelligent, and there were parts at which I did have to stop and read again to take it in properly. So I'm still not sure whether it is a fantastic novel, or if I just don't get it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deeply moving 16 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
It is difficult to know where to begin with this book. I have been interested to read the other reviews. It is rare to see such polarised opinions. I guess it is fair to say that if you are looking for a plot-driven yarn with a healthy range of realistic characters then this book is not for you. It is not so much a story as a complex linguistic journey of discovery which, by venturing deep within the damaged psyche of two Jewish men manages to expose fundamental truths about all men, all people, all living things, the earth itself. If this sounds pretentious to you then I would advise you not to read the book. Michaels is first and foremost a poet and it shows. Her language is dense with imagery and allegory, to read just one page is to dive into a swamp of words, some of them admittedly, rapidly pass you by but others will linger with you forever. Michaels' understanding of the relationships between men and women and both the world around them and the words they use to interact and define themselves is simply breathtaking. If you take this book for what it is meant to be and allow yourself to be pulled into the sometimes tortured, but always fundamentally human world Michaels skilfully creates, then I can guarantee that whether you be Jew, Gentile or Muslim, Canadian, Greek or Brazilian, you will connect with this book's profound humanity and it's haunting residue will stay with you forever.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are so wrong! 25 May 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Fugitive pieces is one of the best books I have ever read. It is beautiful not just because of the poetic language but because it addresses so many fundamental human issues that affect all of us. Jacob's journey through life covers many aspects that will affect all of us at some time like loss, living with the uncertainty of knowing what happened to people who died, the struggle to cope with a normal existence after trauma, finding happiness late in life, I could go on. Michaels tackles bigger issues too like what happened to the children of survivors, how our parents' often had a life that we knew nothing about and how we often have to forgive ourselves for having a poor relationship with our parents. Essentially it is about the fragile web that binds us all and makes us human. It is not a 'sequential' novel as such. It moves along at its own pace and almost appears to be the thought of the narrator. it does not have a 'plot' (most good novels don't, you might notice) and it is not essentially a book ABOUT the holocaust. I agree, if you want to read a book about the Holocaust, buy Primo Levi. If you want to read a beautiful, provocative book about humanity and the fragility of life, buy this one. I wish I could have written it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Would have picked a lower score if possible.
Hopefully this will be the worst book I ever read, I can't imagine ever managing to get to the end of anything more dull or pretentious. Read more
Published 5 months ago by David
4.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric experience . .
. .more of a poem than a book in a stream of consciousness style; uncomfortable in its war time evocation; aromatic and sensuous in Greece.
Published 6 months ago by Badrig
4.0 out of 5 stars fugitive Pieces
I'm not a particularly avid reader and originally got a copy of this during a stay in the UK. It then sat on a bookshelf, unread, for over a year, before I finally decided to pick... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jo Italy
5.0 out of 5 stars What a memorable book!
I could not put this book down and immediately read it again.

Anne Michaels manages to write beautifully about a subject which is often horrific. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Trish. NIBLOCK
4.0 out of 5 stars Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction
Jakob Beer is an eleven year old boy who after witnessing the death of his parents is found living within the destroyed Polish city of Biskupin by Athos Roussous, a scientist. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Christopher Sullivan
1.0 out of 5 stars Problems
I was baffled by this book until I realised what Michaels had attempted was to write a long prose poem. Read more
Published 10 months ago by B. Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars haunting
The breadth of knowledge and flowing language adds a new dimension to an overworked subject. To me the real protagonist is the rescuer - Renaissance Man in a dystopian world.
Published 13 months ago by teddy goldstein
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwrought
In my opinion this book is overwrought and over-written. The prose sometimes verged on the purple! Read more
Published 15 months ago by Constantreader
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
The cover notes and reviews , Telegraph , Times and Independent all set this up to be a brilliant read , of course, in hindsight The Mail on Sunday had described it as "piercing,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by JLP
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware
If you do not want to know what happens in the story do not read the piece by John Berger because he tells you. Read more
Published 21 months ago by pip
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