Monday, July 23, 2012

The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla

3.5 Star

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.

3.5 Star

I really enjoyed The Far Side of the Sky due to the fact it showed me a part of the war that I'd never considered, or even really knew existed. I'm assuming, of course, that the story is based in reality and I would never have considered the so many Jewish people had escaped to Shanghai from Europe. It really brought a different perspective on the war to me and I liked that it was something unique since there are a fair amount of stories on the war already in existence.

That being said, the story didn't resonate with me. I really enjoyed it at first, perhaps because of it's uniqueness. Then the story became immensely frustrating to me as the characters seemed to stagnate in their desires. They seemed to be indecisive about their feelings, what to do about them and how to live their lives. Of course, I cannot really compare as I have never been in a position like theirs either. To be subject to an ongoing war, fearing for your life and being under military control so I imagine the author was portraying their reactions as he imagined in this situation.

I liked The Far Side of the Sky because the dialogue was truly realistic and I can tell this author is already accomplished but the story didn't make me love it and I had hoped very much that it would.
Thank you to Forge for our review copy!

Connect with Daniel Kalla here:

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