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Far to Go Hardcover – 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Anansi (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887842380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887842382
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,317,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the heartbreaking story of a Jewish family in 1938 Czechoslavakia. There is Pavel Bauer, his wife Anneliese and their young son, Pepik. Also, there is Marta, Pepik's governess, who has no home or family to speak of, outside of the Bauer's. The story is also told by the narrator, as someone looking for Pepik as an old man; although it is not until the end of the novel that we discover how the narrator and Pepik are connected.

As the war approaches, the Bauer's life begins to change. Pavel can no longer run his factory and Pepik is forced to face the back wall of his classroom, segregated and bullied. The anti semitism is corrosive and seeps into all aspects of the life in the small town the Bauer's live in. Anneliese wants to leave, although Pavel is keen that they stay. You can feel Pavel's disbelief about what is happening, his unwillingness to accept the way his life is changing, his sudden awareness of his Jewishness. His factory, his feeling of confidence in himself, is slowly stripped away, which is hard to read about. Eventually, the decision is made for Pepik to leave on the Kindertransport, with the hope that he will be safe until they can hopefully be reunited.

This was a very moving book. The author takes pains to show what people are capable of in such situations, which bring out the worst and the best of humanity. Ernst, who works with Pavel, and who sees an opportunity for himself. Marta, who both loves the Bauer's and yet feels jealous and abandoned. Pepik, the small and innocent child, so loved and adored. It must have been the hardest decision to send your child alone into a new world, when the unselfish urge to protect your child is stronger than the desperate need to be with them. This was an excellent novel and really thought provoking. It would be a great read for a book group, with lots to discuss and talk about and I am glad that I read it.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Paula Mc on 1 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
'Far to Go' is the story of the Bauer family, Pavel, Anneliese and their six year old son Pepik, along with Pepik's governess, Marta, they live a quiet life in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia. Their lives are changed forever with the arrival of Adolf Hitler and his government in 1939, the Bauer family, who are Jewish but chose not to practice their religion believe they will be safe because of this. Pavel is outraged by the fall of the Sudetenland and the fall of the government but he still believes his family will be safe but as the situation becomes more frightening and Pavel's own views changing, he realises he must flee with this family while he still can but its too late for Pavel and Anneliese but not too late for their beloved Pepik, his parents and governess must be prepared to let him go on the Kindertransport, to go to Great Britain where he will be safe until he can return home.

I was very lucky to be able to read 'Far to Go' before its release on the 12th May 2011 and I recommend it highly.

The story is told from the point of view of Marta, Pepik's beloved governess, who stands by the Bauer family for different reasons but ultimately she stays because she loves the family. Marta's point of view is full of emotion, there is sadness, happiness, strength and love, emotions that are shown so well that you are immersed in the story from the first page. Marta is a well written and realistic character, she is a young girl, who at times is confused and makes wrong decisions.

Pavel and Anneliese are also well written characters, their fear as people and parents are heartbreaking to read, their frustrations and sadness, what they are facing, what they sacrifice to ensure their son's safety.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
A wealthy Jewish family in late 1930s Czechoslovakia is always going to be an emotional story, but this Booker-nominated story avoids crushing sentimentality by offering a complex and thrilling story of the family's efforts to secure safety, particularly for their six year old son. Alison Pick makes some interesting creative choices that add more layers to this story. Some will surprise the reader but the overall impact is a wonderfully moving story with wholly believable characters.

The first of these creative choices can be a little alienating to begin with. The reader is faced with a series of short chapters that don't immediately gel together. In fact the reader has to wait a long time to work out how the whole literary conceit comes together. The one-page prologue is a first person narrative about a train. Is this the "kindertransport" train we are told about on the cover or a child's toy?

Next comes a letter dated 1939 but which has notes that are clearly more recent, as if part of some modern day academic record of the communication. Then we return to the first person narrative, which seems to be set again in the recent past. Who is talking, we are not told, but someone old is dying in a hospital bed. By now, we are some ten pages in before the real bulk of the third person narrative story begins, but Pick has one more layer of confusion to add. We hear about an attack on a Jewish man in Austria before we learn that this is a story being related by Pavel Bauer, a wealthy secular Jew living in the Sudetenland, part of post Great War Czechoslovakia, to Marta the nanny of his young boy on the eve of German occupation. A warning of things to come.
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