Catherine's Reviews > Fugitive Pieces

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
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's review
Apr 03, 2011

really liked it

In the same way as one eats chocolate for pleasure rather than nutrition (usually), this is a book to read in order to experience the words rather than for the story. There really is little more to the plot than in the summary, and we know the characters through their swirling thoughts rather than their actions. The writing is almost entirely an extended prose poem celebrating family, exploring perception and memory, mourning loss. Yet there was no one particular bit that stood out: if you'll forgive me changing courses it's the same as the way that in a good curry the spices blend to give the overall flavour rather than one being able to pick out the individual notes.

The last section of the book is narrated by the child of a survivor, who almost idolises Jakob. I can see that the point is to show how events can have effects on people who did not directly experience them, but it still felt like a bolt-on, a place to put ideas that, for one reason or another, were pruned from the main narrative. So overall, it was very impressive, and quite powerful but, for me, not perfect.

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