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Fiction General

Far Side Of The Sky

by (author) Daniel Kalla

Initial publish date
Sep 2012
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

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On November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis carry out a shocking attack upon the Jewish citizens of Germany and Austria. Franz Adler, a secular Austrian Jew and surgeon, is desperate to find safety for himself and his family, but, like others seeking to escape the Nazi threat, finds only closed doors at the embassies and consulates.

When Franz learns that European Jews are able to travel without a visa to Shanghai, the cosmopolitan “Paris of the East,” he and his family set off on a risky journey that will take them to an unknown future halfway around the world.

Weaving together political intrigue, romance and medical drama, The Far Side of the Sky brings to life an extraordinary chapter of Second World War history, when the cultures of Europe and Asia converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival. This sweeping account of a world in tumult is a moving, ultimately hopeful story about the value of family and courage in the darkest of times.

About the author

DANIEL KALLA is the internationally bestselling author of Pandemic, Resistance, Rage Therapy, Blood Lies, Cold Plague, Of Flesh and Blood and The Far Side of The Sky. His novels have been translated into ten languages. He practises emergency medicine in Vancouver, B.C., where he lives with his family.

FACEBOOK: Daniel Kalla , Author
TWITTER: @DanielKalla

Daniel Kalla's profile page


  • Unknown, OLA Evergreen Award

Editorial Reviews

“A truly wonderful and important book that adds a fictional story to a significant part of little-known Jewish history.

Tzipi Livni, official opposition leader and former foreign minister of Israel

“In The Far Side of the Sky, a refugee doctor, war-torn Shanghai, and Eichmann’s monstrous bureaucracy collide with surgical precision. . . . Kalla’s characters mend both body and soul.”

Daniel Levin, author of <em>The Last Ember</em>

“Storytelling, pure and simple.”

<em>National Post</em>

“A family saga set in the world of medicine. It’s full of twists and turns and long-brewing feuds.”

Eileen Goudge, <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author

“Sweeps the reader along for the ride.”

<em>The Globe and Mail</em>

“An amazing novel steeped in vivid descriptions of Austria and China.”

<em>Huffington Post</em>

“Wartime Shanghai is captured in vivid, tumultuous detail in this adrenalized survival epic.””

William Deverell, author of <em>Snow Job</em> and <em>Kill All the Judges</em>

“With its unusual setting and blend of terror, hope, and love, this historical novel deserves a wide readership.”

<em>Library Journal</em> (starred review)

“Combining his medical background with meticulous research, Kalla has written the best sort of historical fiction, in which individual lives are shaken by the tectonic forces of history—and then miraculously reconstructed.”

David Layton, author of <em>The Bird Factory</em> and <em>Motion Sickness</em>

“Kalla deftly portrays the triumph and heartbreak of life-or-death matters.”

Susan Wiggs, <em>New York Times</em> bestselling author

“Time and time again, Kalla shows us the great good people can do, yet never shies from showing real evil in the minutest detail. These are wonderful characters, and Sunny Mah is a heroine for the ages.”

Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of <em>In the Fabled East</em> and <em>Empress of Asia</em>

“Kalla’s surgeon-steady hand deftly keeps this story moving forward. Readers are sure to develop a genuine interest in the characters’ fates.”

<em>Vancouver Sun</em>

User Reviews

Little known part of WWII history

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).

Other titles by Daniel Kalla