It’s hard to approach a book that I’ve declared my favourite book ever, a book I read once two years ago and haven’t had the courage to pick up again, despite buying my own copy and buying a copy as a gift for a friend. It would probably be easier to write about some of the books I’ve read repeatedly; I must have read some of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel four or so times and I’ve made a habit of re-reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy every few years, but that’s different. Those are books that I’ve enjoyed and influenced the way I’ve thought and the essence of I am, true, but Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels was more. The Guide and Discworld were novels that set me in a certain direction, they took the flowing river of my mind and diverted it, set it on a course of humour and absurdity, added to its flowing currents. Reading the Fugitive Pieces was uncovering a something that I’ve never known within myself; striking a subterranean lake of cool, refreshing water bursting to the surface, unexpected, overwhelming, liberating.
And painful. At times I would read a paragraph and decide that that would be enough, that that would be all I could take at this time. I don’t think I could review this book normally; as if while describing the novel I would have to write as beautifully and deeply as the novel itself to do it justice; So I’ll say a few quick words and then end off. It’s a novel about loss, and coming to terms with that loss. It’s a novel about the parts of ourselves that we are yet to find, and how we find them. Split into two pieces, telling the stories of two different men, I was initially unsettled at the harsh division between the storylines, but in retrospect they serve a purpose
And that’s all I’m going to say about it for now. I’ll more than likely return to this book, slowly, cautiously feeling my way back in and when I did I’ll post snippets of it up on the blog. But not too long a quote. I don’t think I could take that.
But sometimes the world disrobes, slips its dress off a shoulder, stops time for a beat. If we look up at that moment, it’s not due to any ability of ours to pierce the darkness, it’s the world’s brief bestowal. The catastrophe of grace.