A heart-rending tale of a wartime Jewish refugee and his Chinese-American lover in Shanghai that will “sweep readers along for the ride” (The Globe and Mail)
On November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis unleash a night of terror across Germany that paves the way for Hitler’s “Final Solution.” Meanwhile, the Imperial Japanese Army continues to rampage through China and tighten its stranglehold on Shanghai, a besieged and divided city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews.
Dr. Franz Adler, an Austrian Jew and widowed surgeon, flees Vienna and travels to Shanghai with his daughter. There, at a refugee hospital, Franz falls for enigmatic nurse Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate. The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jewish refugee community as the Japanese ally themselves militarily with the Germans and attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation, disease and threats from two hostile powers, Franz is torn between his family’s security and his heart.
This stirring, fast-paced tale brings history to life through human emotion and perseverance in the face of adversity. The Far Side of the Sky is the first in a brilliant trilogy set during this little-known chapter of Second World War history.
“Kalla deftly portrays the triumph and heartbreak of life-or-death matters.”
“An amazing novel steeped in vivid descriptions of Austria and China.”
“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.”
“With its unusual setting and blend of terror, hope, and love, this historical novel deserves a wide readership.”
“Storytelling, pure and simple.”
“A truly wonderful and important book that adds a fictional story to a significant part of little-known Jewish history.
“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.”
“Wartime Shanghai is captured in vivid, tumultuous detail in this adrenalized survival epic.””
“Sweeps the reader along for the ride.”
“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.”
“Kalla’s surgeon-steady hand deftly keeps this story moving forward. Readers are sure to develop a genuine interest in the characters’ fates.”
“A family saga set in the world of medicine. It’s full of twists and turns and long-brewing feuds.”