November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis unleash a night of terror for Jews all across Germany. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews.
Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father.
The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.
The Far Side of the Sky focuses on a short but extraordinary period of Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish history when cultures converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival.
“An amazing novel seeped in vivid descriptions of Austria and China.” — The Huffington Post
“The author of five medical thrillers and a family saga successfully switches gears here. With its unusual setting and blend of terror, hope, and love, this historical novel deserves a wide readership.”– Library Journal *Starred Review*
“An exciting, often touching story that combines wartime peril and romance in an attractive mix… (Kalla) knows how to weave a good tale, and his characters are endearing… deftly combines fact and fiction.” — Booklist
“I ate up this novel… Recommended.” — Historical Novel Society
“The Far Side of the Sky is a fast-paced, absorbing tale of war and love.”
—The Reporter Group
“One is reminded of Michener and Clavell: both very good storytellers… whose readers deeply enjoyed them for the things they learned, the lives they were allowed to share and the histories they were privileged to glimpse. That’s storytelling, pure and simple.” — The National Post
“A big-canvas story with some very well-drawn characters.” — Globe and Mail
“Kalla’s surgeon-steady hand deftly keeps this story moving forward. Readers are sure to develop a genuine interest in the characters’ fates and also learn about an aspect of Second World War history they probably did not know before.” — The Vancouver Sun
“There are many layers to The Far Side of the Sky, and Kalla tells several good stories against a complicated background.” — The Jewish Independent
“A definite page-turner.” — Quill & Quire
“An exciting and beautifully written story about a city and people in turmoil. Another book likely to make my list of best books read this year.” — Diary of an Eccentric
“The must-read historical fiction of the summer.” — Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves
“Combining his medical background with meticulous research, Daniel 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.” —David Layton, author of The Bird Factory and Motion Sickness
“Wartime Shanghai is captured in vivid, tumultuous detail in this adrenalized survival epic.” — William Deverell, author of Snow Job and Kill All The Judges
“Wartime Shanghai provides a magnificent canvas for Daniel Kalla to depict a world of people, religions and continents colliding. These are wonderful characters, and Sunny Mah is a heroine for the ages.” — Adam Lewis Schroeder, author of Empress of Asia