The Far Side of the Sky

The Far Side of the Sky

Book - 2012
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"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.
Publisher: New York : Forge, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765332332
0765332337
Characteristics: 462 p. ; 25 cm

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w
writermala
Sep 09, 2017

This novel as told by Franz Adler, a Doctor and surgeon and Soon Yi Mah (Sunny,) a Eurasian Nurse caught up in the wartime events in a unique time and place. The poignant story tells of the lives of Austrian Jews caught up in a whirlwind of antisemitism. Dr. Adler and his family manage to build a new home in Shanghai and it is here that the Jewish Diaspora continued not just to exist but to live.
In a superbly researched novel of facts interspersed with fictional romance Daniel Kalla captures a glimmer of the refugees' very real and entirely surreal circumstances.

m
Markus_10
Mar 08, 2016

Bloodless, which is ironic given that the author is a doctor. The characters have almost no inner life, and really only serve as a series of attitudes or characteristics that move the plot along. The medical procedures in this book are described with more passion than the relationships. The narrator often talks in factoids, rather than finding a less obvious way of inserting the author's research about the period into the narrative. To be fair, the book moves along at a fair pace, which is merciful given its page length. It's hard to imagine wanting to read the remaining two books in this trilogy if they're as clumsily written as this one.

m
matcat44
Dec 05, 2013

Very enjoyable. I have just started the sequel, hope it is as good if not better.

j
Jessi52
Nov 18, 2013

Very well written story about a part of WWII history I knew nothing about. His follow up book is next on my list.

s
SharonHoekstra
Oct 06, 2013

for Book Club

g
grinninggirl
Jul 06, 2013

The writing is somewhat stiff and formulaic, but curiousity about the fate of the Shanghai Jews kept me reading.

m
muffin0321
Mar 24, 2013

a very good book based on historical fact. One doesn't hear much about the German Jews in Shanghai and author built a well written story around it. I would recommend.

StratfordLibrary Mar 22, 2013

Blind Date With a Book Comment: "I enjoyed this historical novel thoroughly. This was a side of the 2nd World War that I had not heard of before. It was well-written; you could picture it all happening. I would definitely recommend it for both historical reading as well as a good story."

c
carol507
Feb 13, 2013

I really enjoyed this book - will recommend for my Book Club. Was unaware of the German Jew settlement in Shanghai

m
molly
Feb 01, 2013

This is an exceptionally wonderful wonderful novel with great historical background written by a Cdn medical doctor. Doctors write great books I find! I wish reviewers would NOT relate the plot and spoil it for everyone else; they must lack sensitivity.

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s
SharonHoekstra
Oct 06, 2013

On November 9, 1938--Kristallnacht--the Nazis unleash a night of terror across Germany that paves the way for Hitler's Final Solution. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army continues to rampage through China and tighten its stranglehold on Shanghai, a besieged and divided city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews. Dr. Franz Adler, an Austrian Jew and renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence washing over Vienna and flees to China with his daughter. There, at a Shanghai refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi Sunny Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, until Sunny's life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor attempts to rape her and murders her father. The danger escalates for Shanghai's Jewish refugee community as the Japanese ally themselves militarily with Germany and attack Pearl Harbor. Soon, the Japanese overrun the European enclaves within Shanghai. Facing starvation, disease and the threat of internment--or worse--Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open while protecting his own family and fights to outwit the Nazis and save the city's Jewish community from a terrible fate. The Far Side of the Skyfocuses on a short but extraordinary period of Chinese, Japanese and Jewish Second World War history, where cultures converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival.

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