Monday 21 November 2011

The Far Side of the Sky

Finished November 20
The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla
This is a story that is based on the reality of the German Jews in Shanghai just before and during World War II. The story begins in Vienna on Kristallnicht, when Franz, a young surgeon, finds his brother killed. It is made clear to Franz that his best hope is to leave, and he, wanting to take his daughter, his brother's widow, and his father with him finds that Shanghai is his only choice. Franz is also a widower and he dotes on his young daughter Hannah.
In Shanghai, Sunny is a nurse. Her father is a doctor and he encourages her in her medical career, believing her capable of more. Sunny feels herself an outcast in her society, child of a Chinese man and a white woman. Life in Japanese-controlled Shanghai is not an easy one, but Sunny drives herself harder by volunteering at the Jewish refugee hospital as well as working as a nurse in the County Hospital. Franz also works at the County Hospital, although he is not given the surgeon's role he deserves. He spends a large amount of time at the Jewish refugee hospital, doing what surgeries he can with the limited supplies he can find. Franz makes contact with the local Japanese officers and Jewish community, and as the war is brought to Shanghai struggles to use the contacts he has to protect his family once again.
This is a saga and a love story, and the tale of a Jewish community seldom told. Interesting history and interesting characters.

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