Fugitive Pieces

26 06 2009

I have just finished reading a paperback book Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. The Boston Globe said  ” Word by blessed word it is a gorgeously written book….” And that it is but so much more.  The fact that the author is also an accomplished poet is evident from the book’s  first line  “Time is a blind guide”. Michaels  evokes empathy,  horror, a sense of  the boy’s  unspeakable enduring sadness, his fear, his loss, his love, in the reader  with small tight haunting sentences such as this one.

“Each time we stopped, I was numb against his solid body, a blister tight with fear.”

 Or these, “When I first encountered the Jewish market I felt grief. Casually, out of the mouths of the cheese-seller and the baker came the ardent tongue of my child hood. Consonants and vowels: fear and love intertwined.”

This is an epochal love story , born in the Holocaust between a boy buried in the Polish bog at Biskupin and the geologist who rescued him.  I did not race through this book, slim as it is, but stumbled often, as Stephen Crane said,  “because it is bitter and because it is my heart” .   I will be reading it again.  Maybe with a cup of  Yuqian Dragonwell.

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