In 1940 a boy bursts from the mud of a war-torn Polish city, where he has buried himself to hide from the soldiers who murdered his family. His name is Jakob Beer. He is only seven years old. And although by all rights he should have shared the fate of the other Jews in his village, he has not only survived but been rescued by a Greek geologist, who does not recognize the boy as human until he begins to cry. With this electrifying image, Anne Michaels ushers us into her rapturously acclaimed novel of loss, memory, history, and redemption.
Fugitive Pieces was adapted into a film and directed by Jeremy Podeswa. It was in preproduction for seven years with filming in locations including Greece, Hamilton and Toronto in 2006. It premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and later shown at festivals in Vancouver, Warsaw, Rome, Thessaloniki, Santa Barbara and Newport Beach. It opened in limited release in the US in May 2008.
Anne Michaels participated in The Reading Line’s Books On Bathurst BookRide in 2016 at the June Callwood Park. We learned there that the two women were friends as Anne dedicated her reading to the memory of the extraordinary June.
Ms. Michaels, who has also composed musical scores for the theater, has said “when you put a tremendous amount of love into your work, as in any relationship, you can’t know-you can only hope—that what you’re offering will in some way be received. You shape your love to artistic demands, to the rigors of your genre. But still, it’s a labor of love, and it’s the nature of love that you must give it freely.”
In 20016, Anne Michaels was named Toronto’s fifth Poet Laureate. Upon her appointment she said, “Toronto is fortunate to embrace dozens of languages and has an invaluable literary history. I am looking forward to celebrating our many voices, old and new.”