Far to Go

  • Review
By – October 31, 2011
Cana­di­an writer Ali­son Pick (The Sweet Edge) tack­les the Holo­caust with this chron­i­cle of a Czech Jew­ish fam­i­ly, the Bauers. In 1938, wealthy fac­to­ry own­er Pavel Bauer, a Czech nation­al­ist, does not believe that the Nazis will con­quer the coun­try despite their inroads in the Sude­ten­land. Of course this is not the case. Life becomes more dif­fi­cult as anti-Jew­ish laws take effect and the fam­i­ly is forced to flee to the coun­try­side. They even­tu­al­ly send their son, Pepik, to Eng­land on a Kinder­trans­port. The sto­ry is told, some­what awk­ward­ly, from mul­ti­ple points of view. Mar­ta, the family’s very naïve gov­erness, is not always con­vinc­ing and a con­tem­po­rary Holo­caust his­to­ri­an, uniden­ti­fied for a very long time, pro­vides let­ters from files about the fam­i­ly. The his­tor­i­cal detail is accu­rate and well pre­sent­ed, but the sto­ry as a whole is less sat­is­fy­ing than oth­er nov­els deal­ing with this period.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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