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The Far Side of the Sky is a novel by Canadian emergency room doctor Daniel Kalla about the experiences of Asians and Europeans in Shanghai during WWII. I'm just going to assume that Daniel Kalla and Vincent Lam have abandoned their game of online chess and are now trying to out-novel each other. Obvious comparisons aside, The Far Side of the Sky is a fantastic novel in its own right. At times heartbreaking (okay, almost entirely heartbreaking), it tells the little known story of European Jews who fled to Shanghai during WWII to escape the Nazis. Specifically, it tells the fictional story of Franz Adler, a Jewish doctor from Vienna who decides to flee after his brother is murdered by the Nazis during Kristallnacht. He travels with his (remaining) family to Shanghai, where he meets Sunny Mah, a Eurasian nurse who also knows about discrimination and racial hatred, in her case at the hands of Japanese soldiers. I don't want to give away any endings, but
Daniel Kalla has said that the character of Franz is based loosely on his own grandfather, so expect that it's not all sad and tragic endings (since Dr. Kalla is around to tell the story, I'm assuming things worked out okay for his grandfather), but I'd keep a box of tissues nearby (it's pretty sad in places...most of the book, really).
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley.com. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.