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The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla
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The Far Side of the Sky

by Daniel Kalla

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Enjoyable read. Not great literature but above average. I knew nothing about German Jews emmigrating to Shanghai so I really enjoyed the historical elements of this novel and novel was filled with history.na
"The Far side of the sky "tells the story of war torn Shanghai through the eyes of Dr. Franz Adler, an Austrian Jew who fled Vienna with his daughter Hannah and sister in law Esther and artist friend Ernst. Also telling the story is Soon Yi Mah ( Sunny) a native Chinese nurse who navigates the dangerous streets to volunteer at the Jewish refugee hospital.
What is so terribly interesting is how the Japanese have taken over Shanghai, this period of history and how the European Jews fit into this alien culture. Although the Japanese and Chinese are not anti-semetic, they do not all treat the jews very well. ( )
  Smits | Nov 12, 2017 |
The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla opens on Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938 in Vienna. When the mob hang his brother from a lamp post, Dr. Franz Adler comes to the decision that he must get his remaining family away from the Nazi’s. His sister-in-law, his daughter and he embark on a ship with their final destination being Shanghai, China.

Shanghai is under the control of the Japanese, but German Jews are still being allowed in. The Adler family manage to start a new life in Shanghai, but then on December 7, 1941 comes the attack on Pearl Harbor, bringing the Americans into the war and solidifying the bonds between Germany and Japan. It isn’t long before the Nazi’s are requesting that the Jewish refugees be placed under their control, and Franz Adler is once again wondering how to keep his family safe in such a crazy world. To make matters even more complicated he has fallen in love with an Eurasian nurse, Sunny Mah and he fears that she will suffer by being associated with him.

The Far Side of the Sky has captured a time in history when Chinese, Japanese and Jewish cultures came together and this is a story that blends love, terror, hope and despair in equal measure. The author places his story on a wide canvas but generally manages to keep his main characters in the forefront. I did unfortunately find that these characters were a little one dimensional, but this little known time in history was interesting to read of. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 24, 2016 |
Great book! ( )
  nevans1972 | May 3, 2016 |
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I loved the careful attention to detail the author had, the great research, and the engrossing story. It’s a very promising start to this trilogy.

The story of the Shanghai ghetto is not a commonly explored area of historical fiction. The author explored its early years and formation through the story of Franz Adler and his family as they escaped Nazi controlled Austria and a local Euroasian (half Chinese-half American) woman caught in the fires of war. The book has great atmospheric details; I could feel the heat of a muggy, Chinese summer and hear the calls of street vendors in the many languages of Shanghai. I liked how the author paid attention to his setting as much as his story.

And what a story! From the very beginning with the author opening up with Kristallnacht and Adler family tragedy, the reader is kept engaged throughout the entire work with alternate scenes of harrowing escape, learning to live in a new place, dealing with the many tragedies of war, and growing connections as families are formed. There wasn’t one moment when I was bored or felt like skipping a paragraph.

I loved the characters, for the most part. There were moments where Franz and Sunny read as too perfect or lucky. Yet, for the most part, they were very human and engaging. I enjoyed their journeys and coming together in a relationship.

Yet, for me, the real characterization stars were the secondary ones. I loved Kubota and Tanaka. They humanized the Japanese in fantastic ways. They showed that while they were brutal, there were shines of empathy and mercy there. They also were their own people when it came to giving up the Jews of Shanghai to the Germans or not. They wouldn’t be dictated to by anyone, even allies.

This was a worthy opening to the trilogy. It set the stage of war-torn Shanghai and the various parties that play a part in its story very well. I’m engaged enough in the characters that when I get around to finding and reading book two, it’ll be done eagerly. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers of the WWII genre. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 14, 2016 |
Very good story about WWII and the Jews who managed to escape to Shanghai. Shanghai was the last haven availiable to thousands of Jews trying to escape from the Nazi's. After the attack on Pearl Harbor both the Japanese and the Nazi's were still real threats to the Jews. Intrigue, medical drama and romance. I highly recommend and look forward to part 2 that comes out this month. ( )
  pjhess | Sep 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
In The Far Side of the Sky, Kalla seems, once again, to have taken his own advice to heart and made a strenuous effort to create sympathetic and credible characters. He has almost succeeded. Dr. Franz Adler and his Austrian Jewish family seem sympathetic enough and real enough that this reader was keen to find out what happens to them, even when background summaries clutter up the otherwise fast-moving narrative....Now, Kalla is faced with the daunting task of providing background on how Shanghai became the strange anomaly of international quarters, the Opium War, the Japanese invasion of China and the massacre of Nanking, just so he can tell a part of his tale from the point of view of a courageous young half-Chinese woman who will, inevitably, fall in love with Franz Adler.
 
Physicians face many ethical dilemmas in wartime. Should scarce medical supplies be used to save an enemy’s life? What if saving that life could have disastrous personal consequences? These are the types of moral quandaries facing Dr. Franz Adler in the latest novel by Vancouver emergency-room doctor Daniel Kalla...Without these dilemmas, the book would be merely a familiar tale of good guys (Jewish refugees and their Chinese friends) versus bad guys (Nazis and Japanese soldiers) in an exotic setting. Instead, the medically inspired ethical questions introduce shades of grey into the story, allowing the characters to stop being predictable and start being interesting.

The Far Side of the Sky is told in plain language with a brisk plot that may be far too sentimental for many readers. Love affairs do abound. But the book also has weightier aspects, prompting readers to ponder how they would act if handed the power to kill or cure a hated enemy.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765332337, Hardcover)

November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis unleash a night of terror for Jews all across Germany. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews.

Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father.

The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.

The Far Side of the Sky focuses on a short but extraordinary period of Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish history when cultures converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:10 -0400)

"November 9, 1938-Kristallnacht-the Nazis unleash a night of terror for Jews all across Germany. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews. Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi "Sunny" Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny's life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father. The danger escalates for Shanghai's Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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