Fugitive Pieces.

Essay by timwongHigh School, 12th grade December 2003

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In what could be described as the introduction, Ann Michaels brings her wittiness into play and gives the readers a surreal background of the novel, stating the character's history and the idea of lost or hidden memoirs from war heroes.

Ann Michaels shows off her fancy language just mere sentences in the beginning of the book. Perhaps she is displaying her poetic abilities through Jakob, who is also a lover of language. So it would be of no surprise if Michaels would display such flowery and introspective language. The beginning brings the protagonist, Jakob Beer, running away from the Nazis during the war at the age of seven. Bursting from the mud of a war-torn Polish city, the place where he has buried himself, rises into the not so likely saviour Athos Roussos, a Greek geologist. Jakob is now in the aid of Athos, and would concentrate in art in their spare time, while Jakob fears for his sister Bella, who is 15 and was abducted while his parents were murdered.

From the blood-drenched scene, he is magically saved by Greek geologist Athos Roussos, who secretly transports the traumatized boy to his home on the island of Zakynthos, where they live through the Nazi occupation, suffering privations but escaping the atrocities that decimate Greece's Jewish community. Jakob is haunted by the moment of his parents' death with the burst door, buttons spilling out of a saucer onto the floor, darkness and his spirit remains sorrowfully linked with that of his lost sister, whose fate anguishes him. But he travels in his imagination to the places that Athos describes and the books that this kindly scholar provides. At war's end, Athos accepts a university post in Toronto, and Jakob begins a new life. Yet he remains disoriented and unmoored, trapped...