Wednesday, April 7, 2010

mystery and metaphor: Anne Michaels's novel about grief, poetry and healing

A Greek Jewish stevedore from Salonika tells Jakob's father that "the great mystery of wood is not that it burns, but that it floats."

For now, let's just say I am grateful for having discovered Michaels's 1996 novel, Fugitive Pieces.

Jakob Beers is a young Jewish boy who buried himself to escape the fate of his sister and parents during the Nazi violation of Poland.

He is uncovered, discovered and recovered with the help of Athos, a Greek geologist, who teaches him love and poetry.

After having finished the novel, I told my wife that I would like to start reading it again right away.  During the first reading, I had to balance savoring with progressing; I could easily return, but want to let the images, lines and intuitions settle before I do.