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Far to Go: A Novel Paperback – April 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062034626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062034625
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her second novel (after The Sweet Edge), Pick tackles the Holocaust with the story of a young Jewish family struggling to survive as the Nazis invade Czechoslovakia. Throughout 1938 and 1939, Pavel and Anneliese Bauer endure increasingly terrifying attacks on their dignity, freedom, and lives, clinging to a hope that the madness will soon end. Meanwhile, a present-day Holocaust historian (who remains awkwardly unidentified for some time), specializing in the Kindertransport and the many children it helped to escape from Czechoslovakia, takes a personal interest in the Bauers. Letters culled from the historian's files, written by people who were close to the Bauers, effectively punctuate the novel, but Pick's shuffling gamble with point-of-view produces mixed results. For instance, Marta, who both propels the tale and plays a significant role in it, is sometimes so naïve as to be unconvincing. But period details are authentic and well presented, as are the family's suffering and grief. (Apr.)
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Review

'Clean, crisp and unencumbered. Pick ... creates small moments that are both lovely and frightening ... It's very deftly structures and the storytelling is seamless' -- Globe and Mail 'Somewhere between a book and a miracle' -- Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Love in the Present Tense 'A nuanced and layered portrait of betrayal ... An intriguing experiment in the art of storytelling' -- Montreal Gazette 'Expertly crafted in every sense' -- thestar.com 'Pick unties the dark knots of the past to imagine the stories that could never otherwise be known' -- Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It is beautifully written and heart wrenching.
Kate Orange
The characters remain fairly one-dimensional -- including the narrator, Marta.
JoAnne Goldberg
I know "the story" pretty much from start to finish.
ken tuvman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Paula Mc on May 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
'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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Torres on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found this book excellent but heartbreaking. Many reviewers have said that there are better books out there dealing with the subjects of the holocaust and the Kinder transport. I've seen plenty of documentaries and movies about WWII and the holocaust and apart from The Diary of Anne Frank and the Anne Frank biography, I haven't read any other books dealing with the holocaust so this would be my first book aside from those. I enjoyed reading the book despite finding it a bit depressing at times. I learned more about the Jews in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) and the Sudetenland and how not every child sent away had a happy ending. For those interested in the holocaust I think this would be a good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Feldman VINE VOICE on August 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Far to Go" is a novel based on the history of the Kindertransports that carried Jewish children away from their parents in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to hoped-for safety in England, Holland, and Belgium. It was recently placed on the 2011 long list for the Man Booker Prize.

The novel has two narrators. One, whose identity is a mystery until the end, is a Holocaust scholar collecting information on children who were placed on the Kindertransports, most of whom never saw their parents again. The other is Marta, a gentile governess in the home of Pavel and Anneliese Bauer, well-to-do Czech Jews who cannot believe that the rise of Hitler will threaten them personally. At the last moment, they put their only child, Pepik, on a Kindertransport to England. The novel shifts back and forth between these two narrators, and between a recent time and the past.

The time shifts, the mystery narrator, and the complicated fate of Pepik are devices intended to help tell a story whose general outlines are, of course, familiar. (The scholar-narrator tells us early on what happens to the Bauers, whose attempts to get out of Prague are unsuccessful.) Telling the story through the eyes of Marta also offers a somewhat different perspective, as she is torn between her loyalty to the Bauers, especially Pepik, whom she loves, and her lover, an employee at the Bauer factory whose sympathies turn out to be with the Nazis.

While the historical and period details of the novel are carefully drawn, the character of Marta is less compelling, perhaps because she is not very interesting. Although the novel is generally well written, the simplicity and passivity of Marta sometimes strain credulity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By las cosas on August 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
For the first 85% of the book I simply dreaded reading every page. The general story of a wealthy Jewish couple in complete denial, until it is too late, about what is happening in their corner of Europe in the late 1930s. The less told part of the story is the kindertransport. But until the end, when we are told everything in the book maybe was different, which I merely found annoying, all of the characters are simply too stereotyped. Ernst? I two-dimensional figure of evil (he even shows up drunk with the devil).

And the most annoying part of the book was the morose self-pitying researcher who provides a droning overview of what happened to Jews in the holocaust. It was as though the author didn't have enough confidence in herself or us, the readers, to believe that the narrative could carry these ideas. We needed a flat-footed researcher to pound them in further.

And the hundreds, no thousands, of illusions to how rarefied the Bauers' lives were, yet removed from the harsh reality of the world around them. My god yes, we understand that they are assimilated and that this lost them their souls without giving them any protection. A description of despair followed by "Anneliese reached for her Chanel purse." Dozens of fashion references, all to make a similar point. So why did we need dozens of these? Each one is jarring, it doesn't fit, ever, in with the rest of the descriptions. She has diamond earrings shaped like tears. Several references to eating pork.

They are forced from the Sudetenland to Prague because they are Jewish. Then soon after arriving we get a long, long description of the Christmas preparations, including the fear that they won't find a tree.
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