“We’re never ourselves until we contain two souls”: Holocaust Postmemory and Intimacy in Anne Michaels’s Fugitive Pieces
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Marianne Hirsch’s concept of Holocaust “postmemory” provides a theoretical framework for the children of Holocaust survivors to understand and explore their inherited memories of trauma and loss. In this thesis I place Anne Michaels’s post-Holocaust novel, Fugitive Pieces (1996) in dialogue with Hirsch’s theory of postmemory, and explore not only how the novel participates in a kind of postmemorial project, but that in doing so it deals with the complications of appropriating the memories of others. In particular, I look at the novel’s second narrator, Ben, as most complexly engaging with postmemory through his cooptation and replication of the life and story of the first narrator, Jakob. By addressing these obstacles of postmemory in its risks for appropriation, I ultimately claim that Michaels’s novel argues for a postmemorial project that is guided by love and intimacy as a way of ethically and productively working through both inherited and experienced trauma.