I know you all think I’m an incredibly slow reader but that’s not really the case. I’m not as fast as some people I know like supersonic Random Jottings, or as prolific as Dove Grey Reader, as learned as Harriet Devine, or as amusing as Stuck-in-a-Book. I’m just what I call a “lapsed reader” because I don’t make time to read any more. I rely on the 13 mins of travel time on the train from home to work and back again but unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, I have amassed a posse of what we call “train friends” or “the train gang”. It works rather like velcro. I started talking to one woman on the platform one morning and we progressed from nodding and saying hello to having deep meaningful discussions about the virtues of different types of bag (yesterday’s conversation). Another friend has a penchant for colourful hats and stripey socks so it was natural that I should make her acquantance. She knew someone else etc etc . Now we really need to reserve a carriage just for the gang. About half of this merry brood get on at a previous station so we have to stand in the right place and look out for them in the carriage and invade any empty seats around them. If we were brave enough we would evict the intruders that were sitting on what should be our seats. Shamefully we have become such a rabble that some people DO offer to move when we board the train and they scuttle away to a quieter part of the carriage.
So with a large morning and smaller evening party of friends to join I rarely get as far as opening my book. If I do you can guarantee that within one paragraph a fellow velcro-pal appears and all chance of literature disappears.
I don’t know what I expected when I picked up Fugitive Pieces, certainly nothing like the book I found. I was drawn to the cover and the title. I think I expected memories of a woman, not realising that the head on the cover is probably that of a young boy. A clever title. It took a while for it to dawn on me that both the traces of music and geological references are “fugitive pieces”. I’m on the final stretch of the book. I was momentarily confused when the main protagonist changed and I’m not really sure why that was done as I’m not out of my confusion yet.
Anne Michaels is a poet and if she wasn’t considered as such before the publication of this book then she surely would have been recognised as such after this book made its way out into the world.