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.
“Kalla’s surgeon-steady hand deftly keeps this story moving forward. Readers are sure to develop a genuine interest in the characters’ fates.”
“Kalla deftly portrays the triumph and heartbreak of life-or-death matters.”
“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.”
“An amazing novel steeped in vivid descriptions of Austria and China.”
“With its unusual setting and blend of terror, hope, and love, this historical novel deserves a wide readership.”
“Wartime Shanghai is captured in vivid, tumultuous detail in this adrenalized survival epic.””
“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.”
“A truly wonderful and important book that adds a fictional story to a significant part of little-known Jewish history.
“A family saga set in the world of medicine. It’s full of twists and turns and long-brewing feuds.”
“Sweeps the reader along for the ride.”
“Storytelling, pure and simple.”
“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.”