I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy reading books that take place in Europe, especially when I come across a brilliant historical fiction novel that is set during the days leading up to (and during) the Holocaust. To me, those days were the darkest days our world has seen, and I can’t get enough of books that teach me new things about what happened during that time. For instance, Far to Go taught me about Kindertransport, which managed to rescue nearly 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia. These children, including infants stuffed into dresser drawers, were sent alone on trains to the United Kingdom, where unknown people raised them during the war. Most of these Kindertransport children survived, and few were reunited with their parents after the war. As you can imagine, it’s a horrible situation, any way you look at it.
Far to Go is also loosely based on the story of Pick’s own grandparents, who escaped Czechoslovakia to Canada. They raised her father and his siblings without telling them they were Jewish. Once her grandmother had died, Pick’s father began researching into their family history, and part of this book is based on her father’s research. I love that through her work on this book, she converted to Judaism. I can’t even tell you how cool I think that is. I mean, not keeping the whole thing a secret thing, but the research and writing about family history thing, and the converting back to the religion she was supposed to be thing. Pick does such an amazing job creating the story of the Bauer family during WWII that her book reads more like truth, rather than fiction.
Far to Go is a suspensive story, and it begins in 1938, when Hitler and his anti-Semitic army begin to annex Czechoslovakia. The story is told from two perspectives, which I always love. One side is from a present-day Holocaust archivist, who has discovered a letter that fits in with her research, and the other side is told from Marta, a young, non-Jewish nanny who in charge of Pavel and Annaliese Bauer’s darling 6-year-old Jewish son named Pepik. The Bauer’s are wealthy Jews who don’t practice their faith, but still suffer from the Jewish consequences. Pavel is the eternal optimist, who refuses to leave his business and country behind, while Annaliese is the dark and twisty pessimist who has her secrets, and the desire to leave the county at once. Marta and Pepik have a close relationship with each other, even after she decides to move with the family to Prague.
What happens in Prague is the heart of the story, which I won’t tell you about in fear of spoiling it for you, and this book suddenly turns into a constant thriller. To say that this book is a page-turner is the understatement of the year. I was up all night reading this book in one night, sick with worry, grieving for characters and the fate I was expecting them to have. Not even I could imagine what was going to happen to them next, and I fancy myself a great predictor of books and movies. Prepare to be terrified, and arm yourself with plenty of tissues, because this book takes you everywhere. Far to Go should be read by anyone who enjoys not only historical fiction, but good books in general, as Pick really knows how to tell a story.
Alison Pick is the author of two acclaimed volumes of poetry and one previous novel, The Sweet Edge, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book that was optioned for film. Pick is also the winner of Canada’s prestigious Bronwen Wallace Award. Currently on the faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Pick lives in Toronto.
Visit Indiebound to pre-order your copy of Far to Go by Alison Pick now.
FAR TO GO GIVEAWAY – 3 LUCKY WINNERS WILL WIN A COPY
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**Please read the additional rules here.
HOW TO ENTER:
**Mandatory Entry: Go to Alison’s website, AlisonPick.com, and tell me what fun or interesting thing you learned or noticed there.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Like Far to Go on Facebook.
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+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow me on Facebook and share a link on your wall with the following comment I entered The Girl from the Ghetto’s Far to Go by Alison Pick book giveaway here http://bit.ly/eBV32R. Make sure to leave a comment below with a link to your Facebook profile message, or at least with your Facebook name.
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+1 MORE ENTRY: Add Far to Go to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Comment here and tell me why you need to win this giveaway! Do you enjoy reading historical fiction novels like I do? Are you interested in learning more about WWII? Do you enjoy reading in general, or, do you just love winning free stuff?
+5 MORE ENTRIES: Write about this giveaway on your own blog. Make sure to post a link to http://thegirlfromtheghetto.wordpress.com, and leave me 5 copies of your link via comment here.
Contest ends Thursday, April 14, 2011 at midnight. Good luck to you all!