Far To Go – Alison Pick

Based on actual events the authors own Grandparents took from their native Czechoslovakia, as well as my own Grandparents on my mother’s side, this book isn’t for the faint of heart.

Pavel and Anneliese Bauer, affluent secular Jews who are living in Czechoslovakia during Hitler’s invasion in WWII flee with their young son Pavel, and nanny Marta.

Between the horror of what is happening at that given moment, as well as to come, it is the Bauer’s who are thinking the people who help them are also loyal to them; only to find later their loyalty lasted only as long as the money did in some circumstances.  Pavel received a last-minute seat on the kinder transport, not knowing where he was going, who he was going to on the other end of the line.  Combing through letter in present day, retracing the steps they all took – their ultimate fates as the war raged on in Europe, and in the death camps.

Pavel’s journey is the key to finding out what ultimately happened to his parents and to Marta, along with a surprise or two when he meets someone who is researching what happened to him as well as his parents who has a surprise or two of her own.

Harrowing, Desperate to leave their homes, families, their possessions, their only way of life as they knew it in search of peace where ever they were allowed to go and ultimately be free.  How much would it take, the roadblocks after roadblocks of people to pay off, to gain access to things other had possibly taken for granted.

Although, my Grandparents weren’t Secular Jews, It still remains that urgency they must have felt when wanting to leave the only home and country they knew for one where they could start a new life.  I know they had spent weeks apart as my Grandfather came to Canada first, and then my Grandmother and Uncle some years later, so that he could find work and a place for them to live once they have arrived in Canada.  I do not know if it was because of the looming threat to war was the reason why they left Czechoslovakia, but, they did so for good reason.

Tumultuous, Traumatic, the things you want to forget, but keep you awake in your dreams at night, to be able to be free, to live your life as you wished to.

House of Anansi

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