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Fugitive Pieces

 
Författare: Anne Michaels
Genre: Roman
Utgivningsår: 1997
ISBN: 0747529396
 

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When Athos Roussos discovers a mud-covered boy while excavating an archaeological site in Poland, he takes the child home to the Greek island of Zakynthos. Seven-year-old Jakob Beer has escaped the Nazis, forced to listen to the cries of his parents when they are murdered while he lay hidden in a closet. Athos nourishes Jakob with knowledge and words, applying balm to the wounds inflicted by such terrible loss. After the war they move to Toronto but when his beloved mentor dies and his brief marriage fails, Jakob returns to Greece to work as a translator and write poetry. When he meets Michaela, the possibility of happiness finally becomes a reality, only to be snuffed out by a traffic accident. After Jakob's death Ben, the child of concentration camp survivors, sets out in search of his journals. Written in richly poetic language, studded with striking images, Fugitive Pieces is a profound meditation upon the nature of loss, love and the healing power of words.

Detailed:

Although Fugitive Pieces (1997) has a beginning, a middle and an end, plot is not its most significant element. It is more a novel of ideas, a many-layered exploration of the way in which even the deepest wounds may be healed. The first two parts of the novel are narrated by Jakob Beer, the young Jewish boy whom Athos Roussos saves from the Nazis. The third part is narrated by Ben, the child of concentration camp survivors. We know, from the beginning, that Jakob has recently been killed in an accident.

When a mud-encrusted little boy rises up before Athos as he excavates the ancient Polish city of Biskupin, Athos hides him from the German guards and takes him back to his house on the Greek island of Zakynthos. Jakob has fled the village where his parents were murdered. He does not know what has happened to his sister. Memories of her are threaded through Jakob's narrative — she is always just out of reach, on the fringes of his consciousness.

Zakynthos is under occupation and Jakob remains in hiding. The scholarly Athos immerses Jakob in knowledge, poetry and words. They exchange languages, share Athos's passion for geology and his consuming interest in Scott's expedition to the South Pole. While Athos wants to soothe Jakob's pain, he does not want him to forget his past. When the war is over, Athos takes up an invitation to teach at the University of Toronto.

In Toronto, Jakob has a new language to learn. He attends the university where he meets Maurice Salman who becomes a dear friend. Athos becomes obsessed with the Nazi falsification of history. When he dies, Jakob finds a set of notes that he prepares into a book called Bearing False Witness.

By the time Jakob meets Alex, the book has been published. Alex is thoroughly European, a vibrant young woman with a passion for music who finds it hard to penetrate the darkness into which Jakob sinks. When their marriage is over, he returns to Greece to live in Athos's family home on the island of Idhra.

Occasionally visited by Maurice and his family, Jakob spends his time translating memoirs of the Holocaust and writing poetry. On a visit to Toronto, he meets Michaela and falls deeply in love. They marry and return to Idhra. A life of quiet happiness is destroyed when Jakob is killed in a car accident. Michaela dies two days later.

At this point the narrative passes to Ben, a professor at Toronto University and a friend of Maurice. Ben has grown up in the shadow of the Holocaust, the child of camp survivors to whom every knock at the door is terrifying. His parents seem unable to connect with him in the way that they do with his wife, Naomi, something that Ben comes increasingly to resent. When, after his parents have both died, Ben discovers a family secret and then finds that Naomi already knows it, his resentment hardens. He leaves her and travels to Greece in search of Jakob's journals. In Jakob's poetry, Ben recognises something of his own experience and his journey to Greece teaches him much about himself.

Medelbetyg: 2 (1 röster)

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animisha 2006-06-21 14:14
Fugitive Pieces är en bok som passar för ett kallt och ensamt jullov, när man under de långa dagar och kvällar inomhus har all tid i världen att försjunka i berättelsen, smaka på varje ord och få bilderna, dofterna och klangerna i texten att leva.

Det här är en mycket krävande bok. Själv är jag tyvärr alldeles för otålig för att läsa en mening, läsa om den, tänka på vad den betyder och upptäcka poesin i den innan jag går vidare.
Det är synd, för jag går miste om mycket. Men så är det. När den tredje delen började med en ny huvudperson var jag less.

När jag skriver det här har jag börjat läsa en annan bok och det är en stor lättnad att kunna läsa som vanligt igen, sida upp och sida ner, och njuta av en berättelse som flöder, i stället för att stanna upp efter varannan mening.

Det är nog en mycket bra bok egentligen, och den har vunnit flera priser, men jag betygsätter enväldigt från min läsupplevelse.
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