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The triumphant new novel from the author of the Orange Prize-winning Fugitive Pieces: a soaring and luminous story of chance and change

About the Author

Anne Michaels is a novelist and poet. Her books are translated into more than fifty languages and have won dozens of international awards, including the Orange Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, and the Lannan Award for Fiction. Among many other honours she is a Guggenheim Fellow, has received honorary degrees, and has served as Toronto’s Poet Laureate. Her novel Fugitive Pieces was adapted as a feature film. Her most recent books include All We Saw, Infinite Gradation and Railtracks (co-written with John Berger). In 2020, her novel Fugitive Pieces was chosen as one of the BBC’s 100 Novels that Shaped the World.


Anne Michaels' compelling novel Held couldn’t be more timely: war and its damages, passed through generations over a century. Through luminous moments of chance, change, and even grace, Michaels shows us our humanity - its depths and shadows
*MARGARET ATWOOD, via Twitter*

A warm, gentle and powerful novel; a book of moments, reimaginings, forgettings, disturbances and digressions. Anne Michaels has excelled herself once again.
*International Times*

Michaels' work ... is ferociously engaged in the fundamental universal difficulties of being alive

Michaels is a writer who moves gracefully between award-winning poetry and captivating fiction – and there is a lyrical beauty to this novel … with Anne Michaels, you know you are in the presence of a real and rich sensibility
*independent.co.uk, Books of the year*

Incredible ... Almost hallucinatory in its lyricism ... A novel of ingenious chronological invention based on four generations of women from the same family
*New European, Books of the Year*

There is an intense, mysterious beauty that infuses Michaels' precise prose with a compelling power that is exquisite … a profound literary experience that is executed with subtlety, grace and an exquisite intuition
*Irish Times*

Still a master of her universe… dazzling lyrical snapshots recall the dreamlike style of Fugitive Pieces in the poet’s third novel, a fluid examination of history, memory and generational trauma… The writing is always personal, hypersensitive and profoundly interior… Michaels’s writing continues to stand head and shoulders above most other fiction. At the heart of this book lies the question of how goodness and love can be held across the generations

A graceful, timely, resonant reminder of the trauma of war and the wreckage that it inflicts
*Daily Mail*

Michaels inhabits episodic moments with a quantum quality
*Sunday Times*

A beautiful work … shifting, merging and separating, wrapping itself around the reader
*New European*

The Canadian novelist’s complex, time-travelling new novel explores trauma, loss and the lasting impact of love … Few authors balance the atrocities of history with the consolations of human relationships quite so effectively as the Canadian novelist and poet Anne Michaels. She has an uncanny talent for finding curative connections and restorative emotions in hellish circumstances
*Financial Times*

Just as the characters are held by their love for others, readers are safely held in the utterly tactile and emotional embrace of this incredible novel
*Quire & Quill*

Anne Michaels , known for the award-winning Fugitive Pieces, returns with Held,, which spans generations in the aftermath of the First World War
*GUARDIAN, Best books of Autumn 2023*

Compelling and well-crafted
*independent.co.uk, Books of the month*

Shows how pain and loss permeate generations
*Country & Townhouse*

A cleverly fragmentary tale of love, memory and time from the author of Fugitive Pieces shuffles the hopes and dreams of four generations ... Michaels demonstrates that fugitive pieces can make up a structure as strong and as meaningful as a finished monument ... Michaels’s intellectual toughness coexists with a tender heart ... Exceptionally open to the beauty of science'

I am blown away by the scale, beauty, weave and thinking of this book ... It dances with words, time and ideas in a way that seems to reinvent everything I know about the novel ... and it’s such a transporting read too. It's exquisite - I am in awe

Her stunning prose sustains the book’s enchanted mood from start to finish ... Each page of this masterpiece has a line worth savouring
*Publishers' Weekly*

A gorgeous meditation on whether the ghost in the machine is actually in our hearts ... A multi-layered and subtle discussion of what keeps animating the web of existence

Michaels brings her poet's finesse and soulfulness to this exquisite, deeply moving paean to love and life’s insistence and beauty

Praise for Anne Michaels: 'Monumental ... The most important book I have read for forty years

All except a handful of contemporary novels are dwarfed by its reach, its compassion, its wisdom

This is a novel to lose yourself in; let the language pour over you, depositing its richness like waves lapping sand onto a beach. Michaels is a novelist of unusual and compelling power

Essential reading, both for its exceptional literary craft and for its exemplary and inspiring humanity

Extraordinarily magical

Her writing goes way beyond games or fashion or politics ... It represents the human being entire

Has a quality of crystalline exactness ... A remarkable book

Exquisite ... There are many phrases to be underlined, remembered and savoured

Writing of dangerously beautiful intensity ... magnificent

Read this book like poetry, or rather hear it like music ... Anne Michaels guides us to the top of some extraordinary peaks of feeling and perception

Michaels is a great poet of loss, and the challenges of memory in the face of it ... Michaels produces passages of lyrical beauty

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