Often a book will return to haunt my idle moments, in the early morning watching the sky lighten or while gazing out of a train. Fragments of Fugitive Pieces come back to me in this way. Amid the horror and the loss, the book also served to make me question my comprehension of meteorology and geology. It is testament to the beauty of some of Michaels’s writing.
Ben, our final narrator, visits the Greek island where Jakob, the principle narrator, lived. There to seek Jakob’s notebooks he searches the house:
I would spend weeks inside your house, an archaeologist examining one square inch at a time. I looked in drawers and cupboards. Your desk and cabinets were empty. Then I began to go through your library: immense in scope and size, climbing every wall of the house. Books on the aurora borealis, on meteorites, on fogbows. On topiary. On semaphore signals. On Ghana high life, pygmy music, the sea shanties of Genoan longshoremen. On rivers, the philosophy of rain, on Avebury, the white horse of Uffington. On cave art, botanical art, on the plague. War memoirs from several countries. The most vigorous collection of poetry I’ve ever seen, in Greek, Hebrew, English, Spanish.
In this library I would also happily lose weeks, grazing widely.
Initially I was unsure but I have ordered Anne Michaels’s second novel The Winter Vault. If you are able to recommend any readable books on meteorology or the philosophy of rain please let me know in comments.