Published June 5, 2012; Forge Books
Genre: historical novel
Source: library book
April 14, 1940, Shanghai...
"Can you believe we have already been in Shanghai for almost a year and a half, Franz?"
Esther asked from the armchair where she sat lengthening Hannah's school skirt.
"Feels more like a lifetime and a half,"Franz replied.
"Ja," Eshter sighed. "Quite a lot has happened since, no?"
"You might say so, Essie!" (ch. 24)
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 a quest for survival. (publisher)
Comments: I've long been interested in this period of history - Shanghai before and during occupation by the Japanese. I have also read about the German Jews who escaped to Shanghai, the only place left that would accept them, just before WWII began. Shanghai became a refuge at the same time for the White Russians, those displaced by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. These two groups joined the millions of Chinese refugees displaced by war and the Japanese presence, occupying the overcrowed multi-ethnic city of Shanghai.
What is fascinating about The Far Side of the Sky are other little know historical facts the book brings to light. Many German Jews settled in Shanghai and only left in the late 1940s when Mao Tse Tung expelled all foreigners from China. Also new to me was that the occupying Japanese refused to turn over the Jews in Shanghai to their allies, the Germans.
Very well written, Daniel Kalla' novel interweaves historical facts and persons into a story of family, survival and humanity in an account of one part of one of the most devastating periods in modern history. He makes clear at the end of the book just what is history and what fiction.
Daniel Kalla practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia. This book parallels his family history of surviving the Holocaust, although he says the story is not his specific family history. He has written several other books which have been translated into eleven languages. Visit his website at http://danielkalla.com