22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Far to Go (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)I thought long and hard before writing this review. Other reviewers have all given it four or five stars (so far), and I wondered what I had missed, but in the end, I have to write what I feel. Four and five star novels are, for me, the ones I can't put down, and long to recommend to others, and this one doesn't quite make the grade. However, if I could have given the novel three and a half stars, I would have.
The novel tells the story of the Bauer family - Pavel, Anneliese and their small son Pepik, and Marta, his nanny. The Bauers are Czechs, and the Germans are invading their country. They are also Jews, and the persecution of Jews is getting under way. Because they are not practising Jews, Pavel feels that they are safe; his wife is not so sure. Marta, who is non-Jewish, is torn between the family she loves and, at the beginning of the novel, her Nazi lover, Ernst. As the net gradually closes around them, the painful decision is made to send Pepik to England and safety.
The narrative, told largely from the pont of view of Marta, is punctuated by a present-day first person narrative, and it is not for some time that the identity of this narrator is made clear. One of the problems I had with the novel was this narrative; I felt that it was unnecessary - it provided a framework for the story, but was not essential to it - and it interrupted the main narrative. I also found it irritating not knowing who was speaking.
As to the main story itself, it is well researched and told, but I somehow never really felt drawn in; never feared for the protagonsists or felt their pain as I have in other novels about the Second World War, and I was disappointed. It was all there; the fear, the uncertainty, the pain when Pepik is finally taken from his family onto the Kindertransport, but I wasn't gripped as I had expected to be. We know from early on in the novel that Pepik's parents die in the concentration camps, so any tension as to their fate is pre-empted.
An interesting novel, and a well-written one, but I'm not sure that I would recommend it (although there are plenty who would).
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Initial post: 15 Dec 2011 07:38:43 GMT
Honest and helpful. I enjoyed 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak of a similar genre and this is one of my all time favourites for an emotional stir, so I may give 'Far to Go' a miss as it doesn't seem to hit that button. Thanks.
Posted on 13 Mar 2012 21:12:38 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 13 Mar 2012 21:13:58 GMT]
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