Far to Go ~ Alison Pick
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Marta’s life is as normal as any life might be, living and working as a governess for a wealthy family in war-time Czechoslovakia. Though, at the rise of the curtain, Hitler has only just gotten a grip in the Sudetenland, the anti-Semitic sound machine is in full swing. The propaganda throws Marta into an emotional tailspin as she struggles to separate fact from fiction, pitting her own happiness and safety against her loyalty to the family that works and lives for.
Her employer, Pavel Bauer, is passionately headstrong and a countryman at all cost. He is convinced that neither the war nor high water will tear down his textile mill and all his family has built-in the city over generations. As the war sniffs closer, though, business becomes less of a concern as loyalties shift and priorities focus not on profit but on survival.
Told, primarily through the eyes of gentile, yet, affected, Marta, the story is crafted much differently than other world war two tales I’ve read, especially recently. Though it is Czechoslovakia, it seems to be a microcosm of the divided feelings, even on an individual level, that wrecked havoc on those Jewish and non, through the entire conflict.
Being of middle and eastern European Jewish background, I know that my own family had to get out of dodge pretty darn fast when things turned ugly but I think that, often, things unfolded differently in the middle to eastern countries than they did right off the bat in the front of the continent. This shed a little bit of light on the shadows of the commotion where rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, employer and employee were more blobs of gray than the crisp lines that history tells of.
This is a tough read at times as there is a big inner conflict in Marta’s life. The events are nothing new to the world of ’30’s hiostory but, as I’ve said, the view-point and manifestation of the entire tale is just done very differently than I’ve come across. It’s a recommended read to anyone who knows little about the conflict but also very much so for those who have done their share of reading up on the issue.
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. She 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.
Connect with Alison:
Alison’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, April 19th: Acting Balanced
Wednesday, April 20th: Reading on a Rainy Day
Thursday, April 21st: The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, April 26th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, April 28th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Wednesday, May 4th: Books Like Breathing
Thursday, May 5th: Diary of an Eccentric
Monday, May 9th: In the Next Room
Wednesday, May 11th: Rundpinne
Thursday, May 12th: Library of Clean Reads