I read Fugitive Pieces not long after it was published in 1997. While I couldn't tell you now what it was about beyond the fact that: it opens in WWII; is about the lives of a boy and the Greek man who finds him buried in the woods where he's hiding from the Nazis; and the boy eventually settles in Toronto, I can tell you that I was struck at the time by the lyrical language, which is explained by the fact that Anne Michaels began her writing career as a poet.
It was right about this time too that I started to read New School CanLit - which I can only describe by comparing it to Old School CanLit. By Old School I mean the kind of CanLit found on my high school syllabus set in rural towns that I absolutely could not relate to. The perfect example is The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, which I was required to read in English class. Ugh.
New School CanLit, however is another story. Many of these books are set in Canadian urban centres and there's something very intimate and relative about stories set amongst the familiar: The University of Toronto figures into the plot of Fugitive Pieces, as does the building of the Bloor Street Viaduct in Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of the Lion, which I've driven under and over countless times.
Anyway, I'd heard awhile back that the book was going to be adapted to film and now it's slated to open the Toronto International Film Festival. I'm going to have to re-read the book now.