An article published on The Mantle compares author/poet Anne Michaels' first novel, Fugitive Pieces (1998) to her newest one, The Winter Vault (2009). The review is... fawning...
Before Anne Michaels made the transition from poet to author, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, two Canadian poets, became beloved and successful authors both, in their native homeland and abroad. After the publication of her anthologies of poetry, The Weight of Oranges (Coach House, 1985) and Skin Divers (McClelland & Stewart, 2007), Michaels stunned the world with her lyrical, harrowing (yet hopeful) Holocaust novel, Fugitive Pieces, for which she won, among others, UK?s 1997 Orange Prize for fiction. Greeted with almost universal critical and public acclaim, the novel went on to sell a million copies worldwide, and in 2008 was made into a feature film. After twelve years, and much fan speculation, Michaels released The Winter Vault earlier this year to both instant approval and commendation from fans and critics alike. Like her Canadian contemporaries Ondaajte and Atwood, Michaels is a novelist and poet interested in excavating the individual and intimate stories from the grand sweep of history.
Immaculately written, both Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault are sensitive, soul-searching works that uncover the delicate personal and private experiences embedded in the landscapes of loss. At once tremendously beautiful and melancholy, startlingly somber and authentically atmospheric, the novels are based upon painstaking research and the recovery of a voice for those not permitted the opportunity to be heard. Like Michael Ondaatje, she traces communal and individual experiences through the alternately foreign and familiar lenses of memory.
Continue reading here: Weighing the Human Heart | The Mantle