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11 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, Dec 11 2011
This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
It was great to have another book from Daniel Kalla - well worth the wait. Just wanted to send a note to say that I just finished reading "The Far Side of the Sky". What an amazing story - it was very difficult to put down. I was able to identify with Franz, Essie and Hannah, since my mom and her family had to leave their home in Slovenia and cross the border into Hungary - if they looked back, they would have been shot. My grandfather even spent some time in Mauthausen and returned home skin and bones. This was a very difficult time for many people that the Nazis had "issues with" - many died, but many were able to survive and let the world know what really happened. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of those who had no idea and denied that such atrocities really happened. I especially enjoyed the medical aspect and the interaction between Franz and Sunny.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to the continuation of this story.

Carla Pahulje, MRT(R)

Toronto, ON
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad story of a little known part of WWII history, June 22 2012
By 
Mary Lavers "CozyLittleBookJournal" (Dartmouth, NS, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
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. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, historically and otherwise, Nov. 15 2014
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This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
Excellent book, historically and otherwise. Was disappointed the ending did not tell me what happened to that large Jewish community in Shanghai. Have since read his follow up book and still didn't find out what happened to them but did find out Kalla is going to write the third book this year. Would have liked it if I had been warned this was a trilogy. In fact, even though both books were excellent, I felt somehow scammed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Far Side of the Sky, March 20 2014
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I loved Daniel Kalla's book! It brought to light the fact that China was one of the few places that would take Jewish refugees during the 2nd world war. The characters were wonderful, as was the narrative, of what life must have been like in China during the time period. Highly recommended reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Feb. 5 2014
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Story related to family history but that aside the book moved along very well , well written , a great insight to history .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read!, July 1 2013
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Another goodie. chosen for our monthly book club. Had not heard of his writing before but he is from my part of the world which is interesting!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learning more Jewish History, Feb. 18 2013
Excellently researched....... Heartbreaking and yet filled with hope....I admire the Jewish people for their faith and courage.....and hang my head in shame at the actions of many nations, my own country Canada in particular....I raise my cup in celebration of the Jewish people.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Captivating, Dec 11 2012
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
Mr. Daniel Kalla is best known for his medical thrillers, having read and enjoyed every one of his previous novels I can honestly say this latest addition has to be one of his best and is definitely a page-turner.

“The Far Side of the Sky” is more a love story than a suspense novel, it recounts the period of war torn Shanghai as seen through the eyes of two main characters- Dr. Franz Adler, a secular Austrian Jew and Soon Yi Mah, a native Eurasian nurse. Their lives are caught up in a whirlwind of events in a unique time and place. Although the protagonists are fictional, Mr. Kalla’s notes at the end of the novel indicate he wanted to stay as faithful as possible to the history, culture and geography of Second World War Shanghai. Some of the minor characters including the Nazis and Japanese officials are true historical figures. Mr. Kalla has chosen a very challenging period and engaged his imagination to highlight some events that are recorded in history. By doing so, he has painted a dramatic tale that transports the reader from Austria in the late 30’s to Shanghai early 40’s.

The fast moving plot is narrated in a clear and simple form and opens in Vienna, on Nov.9. 1938- Kristallnacht. Franz Adler, a once prominent surgeon, realizes life as he knew it is degrading fast, his brother has paid the price with his life and danger lurks at every corner. When a window to escape to Shanghai with his daughter and sister in law opens, he seizes the opportunity it may be their only hope for survival.

Once in Shanghai, we follow the lives of the two main characters: Franz and his struggle to get back into the medical field and a young half Chinese nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” who is a brilliant young woman and a competent surgical nurse. Their working lives eventually cross at a refugee hospital and the chemistry between them blossoms.

I was totally captivated by this surreal tale and once again one of my favourite author’s has produced an outstanding novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Original story, May 2 2012
By 
reuben poupko (cote st. luc, quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I have read a multitude of books dealing with the Holocaust, and yet this book was original with an intelligent, fascinating story line. I loved the characters and was sad when the book ended. Great story
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Trip, April 30 2012
By 
Tony Berryman "Writer" (BC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Far Side Of The Sky (Paperback)
Just finished Dan Kalla's latest about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WW2, and what a rewarding read. Highly recommended.

Not so much a thriller as a serious novel, it's quietly compelling, it gets in deep. I found myself thinking about the characters' lives and eager to get back to the book.

Historically accurate and well-researched, Sky has a bit of a steep learning curve as the first few chapters cover pre-WW2 Vienna and dive you into historical detail, threatening to become just another war novel. But it settles into a long, beautiful trip into lovely characters and a rich locale that I'm sorry to be done with.

Very tight and well-written, Dan's craft has come a long way in his career. Sky left me with that satisfying glow of a novel well done. Again, highly recommended.
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The Far Side Of The Sky
The Far Side Of The Sky by Daniel Kalla (Paperback - Sept. 12 2011)
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