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Far to Go Hardcover – 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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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 (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,376,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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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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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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( 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.
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