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Far to Go

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  2,309 Ratings  ·  309 Reviews
The Man Booker Prize finalist Far to Go by acclaimed author Alison Pick is historical fiction at its very best.

When Czechoslovakia relinquishes the Sudetenland to Hitler, the powerful influence of Nazi propaganda sweeps through towns and villages like a sinister vanguard of the Reich's advancing army. A fiercely patriotic secular Jew, Pavel Bauer is helpless to prevent his
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published August 28th 2010)
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Aug 25, 2013 Jaidee rated it really liked it

4.5 " unbelievably sad and beautiful" stars

8th Favorite Read of 2015

Ms. Pick's book "Far to Go" was long listed for the 2011 booker prize and won the Canadian Jewish Book Prize for fiction that same year.

I don't have many words for this book as it completely overwhelmed me emotionally. I cried on the bus, at Starbucks and onto my partner's eggroll at Panda Hut (He said "Jaidee there is enough sodium in the eggroll- you don't have to add to it")

The book is gorgeously written with characters tha
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Imagine if a war is brewing around you, but you don't have the knowledge of WW2, its history, causes, and its ultimate two tragedies (the Holocaust and the atom bombings) and their repercussions. Imagine that you are not lucky enough to have read about what Hitler did, from your living room or classroom, and rail against his actions in indignation, disgust and disbelief. Imagine that WW2 never happened - instead it is only going to happen, soon, in exactly the same way and we are going to be pup ...more
This has been difficult to achieve.

ETA: I admit defeat. I only want to give this book three stars, and I do not quite now why. The book was perfectly executed. It kept me reading. The characters were well rounded. The writing was fine. Some nice similes were included, but they were not excessive! But somerthing didn't work for me. It felt like fiction. The book was just plain kind of ordinary........ Sorry for being so unclear! I simply cannot give this and On Hitler's
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
Once in a while a book comes along that unexpectidly blows you away. This is that book.

Far to Go is set in Czechoslovaki in 1938, just before the outbreak of WW2. Pavel and Anneliese Bauer live with their 5 year old son, Pepik, in a suburban appartment in the northern region of Sudetenland. They own a factory, they have money, enjoy nights in at the theatre and employ a live-in nanny, Marta, to look after their son. They have a life – a good one – that is until the Nazi occupation and annexation
Nov 17, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-2011
I wanted to give this more stars as it's worthy, and well put together, but in the long run it doesn't amount to much. Of course, it's difficult to be fresh about the war, which is no reason not to keep trying, but in any case, Far to Go isn't fresh. It's a small story, banal in the detail, and not particularly insightful, with thinly drawn characters and no strong sense of time or place.

There are a couple of slightly annoying layers - the author's family has been fictionalised, and then THAT fa
Carrie Crockett
Apr 30, 2011 Carrie Crockett rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any adult
Recommended to Carrie by: Amazon
Reading this book was a fascinating experience in reading. Two chapters in I had the book in hand, ready to chuck it across the room into the waste bin (something I am fond of doing--too many books out there to waste precious time on the less-than-great) for references to sex, a seemingly stagnant plot, not great writing, a general boring alert. At the last minute, however, I decided to keep reading since I have read little historical fiction about Czechloslovakia (now the Czech Republic of cour ...more
Sep 04, 2011 Elaine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Very competently put together -- but lacked the emotional power of the Invisible Bridge, another recent book that similarly drew on family history to illuminate a particular corner of the Holocaust and to tell a sweeping family story that was not about the camps but about the lived experience, before the camps, in a specific country (there Hungary, here Czechoslovakia). While the story has some wrenching twists and turns, there is a little too much telling of history (characters neatly recount h ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Czechoslovakia. 1938. War is coming, and invasion by Germany seems inevitable.

Pavel and Anneliese Bauer think that they will be safe. That their young son, Pepik, will be safe. They are affluent, successful, good people.

Yes, they are Jews, but they are secular Jews, not practicing the faith.

But of course they won’t be safe. And they will have to make painful decisions about what to do, about how best to protect their son.

Alison Pick tells their story simply and clearly. She picks out details bea
Mar 02, 2011 G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens in Prague is the heart of the story, which I won’t tell you about in fear of spoiling it for you, and this book suddenly turns into a constant thriller. To say that this book is a page-turner is the understatement of the year. I was up all night reading this book in one night, sick with worry, grieving for characters and the fate I was expecting them to have. Not even I could imagine what was going to happen to them next, and I fancy myself a great predictor of books and movies. Pre ...more
Far to Go is a novel that is very well written and has all that I expected from it - lyrical prose and emotional content grounded in excellent research punctuated with quotes from the lives of many of the people involved in the tragedy of Europe in the late 1930's and a short note regarding their ultimate fate.

A story of Jewish people and gentiles, of relationships straining or blossoming under the extreme stress of the period, of a time of madness at which we sometimes look back and wonder "how
Stephanie Anze
Marta works as a governess for Pavel and Annelise Bauer, an affluent Jewish family in Czechoslovakia. When the Sudetenland is given up to Germany in the Munich Agreement, in an effort to restrain Hitler, the Bauers (though secular Jews) fear for their lives. They, thus, flee to Prague with Marta in tow. Believing they have escaped Hitler, they settle into new lifes. That is until Marta betrays them and the consequences of her actions will have a marked effect on her own life.

This is the type of
Aug 04, 2011 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the longlisted novels for the Booker Prize 2011, Far to Go is certainly attracting a lot of attention from readers and all with good reason - it's a refreshing look at a period of history which should never grow stale in our minds no matter how many years go by.

The main focus of the novel is on the Bauers, a young, secular Jewish family living in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia which has been invaded by Germany. Pavel, a wealthy factory owner, Anneliese, his stunning, self obsessed wife and t
Friederike Knabe
Aug 30, 2011 Friederike Knabe rated it liked it
Alison Pick's recent novel, Far to go, tells the story of one family's efforts to survive the persecution of Jews in Czechoslovakia during 1938/39. Among the books written on this theme, Pick stands out in that she integrates the personal with the historical. Inspired by her own family history, she interweaves the past events with a present-day narrative thread. One adds to the other's understanding in the reader.

The primary narrator is Marta, an orphaned country girl, dependent on the family o
Sep 23, 2011 Felicity rated it really liked it
Yet another book on the Booker longlist that didn't make it to the shortlist. Once again, I trust the quality of this book speaks volumes about the quality of the books that did make it to the shortlist. First, a confession. I generally avoid holocaust novels. Perhaps that's not true, but I don't find myself racing out to read them. I never read nor saw "Schindler's List." I did see "The Reader" but never read it. I do read Lily Brett's holocaust novels, but I never go back and reread them--that ...more
Cj W
"You wanted to protect him? Look what your protection has done. Now he can't get out of the country at all."

"Who was it? The secretary?"

"Yes, the Secretary. And you can guess what he said"

"There must be something we can do"

"No," Pavel Said. "He made it very clear. The decision was Winston's, in fact. Because, you see, there are so many Jewish children desperate to get out that is simply doesn't make sense to send those with a Christian baptismal certificate."

Far To Go: Alison Pick.

A family li
Steven Buechler
Aug 02, 2011 Steven Buechler rated it really liked it
A great piece of literature. It goes beyond the politics and the labels of the people of 1938-1943 Czechoslovakia and deals with the human conditions of that era and beyond to our time.

Page 6-7
"I wish this were a happy story. A story to mae you doubt, and despair, and then have your hopes redeemed so you could believe again, at the last minute, in the essential goodness of the world around us and the people in it. There are few things in life, though, that turn out for the best, with real happy
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 26, 2011 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Man Booker Longlist 2011
I read this because it was on the long list for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. If I was voting, I'd pick this as one of the books for the short list. It tells a compelling story of secular Jews in Czechoslovakia, from the perspective of their "gentile" nanny, Marta. It covers Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia, the kindertransport, and focuses on themes of religious identity and betrayal.

Interspersed are brief chapters from the perspective of a retired academic who is doing interviews with grow
I have a fascination with the Holocaust and things surrounding it. I know that sounds bad, but I think there is part of me that will never understand, never grasp, how something like that could happen. In a way, I am in awe of Hilter. How he could command so many people to do his will. I am not saying I respect him or condone him in any way. I just can't believe that one person was able to have that much control over a nation. Although, today in the US, I do see my fair share of what I would con ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Bosorka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tíživé a silné téma očima jedné z mnoha rodin, které podobný osud postihl. A vlastně ještě lépe - očima vychovatelky jejich syna, která má jistý odstup a přitom je tak moc součástí těchto osudů. Napsáno velice poutavě, autorka zvolila prolínání dvou dob, současnosti, kdy potkáváme autorku onoho příběhu, a minulosti v letech 1938-39, kdy se ten příběh odehrává. K tomu ilustraci v podobě dobových dopisů, které dokreslují atmosféru, jež hutní každou stránkou. K tomu mnoho otázek, které se mi honily ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did, because of the premise of it. Unfortunately, all the flashes between past and present wore away at my interest, and I just wanted it to stay in the past. The past story was a little weak, but I felt like the present-day part of the story really didn't add anything, and was a bit too overdone. Of course, once I got to the end, and realized why these flashes happened, it felt like I could have tossed away the whole book and been better for it. Greatly di ...more
Amy Meyer
Apr 15, 2011 Amy Meyer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: to everyone
Recommended to Amy by: reviewed for TLC Books
Title: Far To Go
Author: Alison Pick
Date Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-203462-5
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction; Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher’s Book Summary: When Czechoslovakia relinquishes the Sudetenland to Hitler, the powerful influence of Nazi propaganda sweeps through towns and villages like a sinister vanguard of the Reich's advancing army. A fiercely patriotic secular Jew, Pavel Bauer is helpless to prevent his world from unraveling a
Jul 25, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would opening words such as these turn you away from a book?

"I wish this were a happy story. A story to make you doubt, and despair, and then have your hopes redeemed so you could believe again, at the last minute, in the essential goodness of the world around us and the people in it. There are few things in life, though, that turn out for the best, with real happy endings."

They shouldn't. They're spoken by the world-weary but compassionate modern day narrator of a generations-old tale. The narr
Mar 11, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 2011, 2010s
The inspiration behind Far to Go is Alison Pick’s own family history. Her grandparents were forced to flee from persecution in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War, eventually settling in Canada. She uses this to create the story of the Bauer family, a priviledged Czech family who are Jewish by birth but don’t really practise their faith. However, Pavel, Anneliese and their young son Pepik are Jewish enough to become targets as the Nazi occupations spreads across Europe. The family must tr ...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
Pavel and Annaliese Bauer and their young son Pepik live in Czechoslovakia, along with Pepik’s nanny Marta, who has no family of her own, but carries on an affair with married man Ernst. The family has Jewish roots, though they themselves have barely embraced this side of their lives thus far. It is 1938, and with Hitler in power, Chamberlain operating a policy of appeasement and handing over the Sudetenland to Germany, everything is about to change for the Bauer’s. Though stubborn at first, and ...more
May 01, 2011 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'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 ...more
Apr 28, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it

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
Aug 02, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it
I have to admit that when I read on the jacket that this novel was a Holocaust novel I was a bit skeptical as to Pick's ability to add much to this already thoroughly examined/ explored/ testimonied subject. It takes some guts to go there after Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, etc. But then maybe with the success of Tatiana de rosnay and others like Jenna Blum people have decided that there are still stories to tell and that telling these new stories is not meant as a disrespect to those told by actual ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
Jul 30, 2011 Kirsty Darbyshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This is the first book I've picked up from the 2011 Booker Prize longlist. By the end of the Kindle sample - where I usually decide whether I want to keep reading or not - I really wasn't into the story, hadn't figured the characters out and wasn't especially bothered about keeping reading. I went against my own judgement however and carried on. And got captivated by the family story.

In retrospect it is hard to understand why all Jewish families weren't taking every opportunity to flee from Nazi
Jul 30, 2012 Ciska rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
The author
Born in Toronto in 1975, Alison grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Guelph and an M Phil from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Currently on faculty in the Humber School for Writers' Creative Writing by Correspondence program, Alison Pick in Toronto where she is at work on a memoir. For more information visit

The review
This book left me a bit disappointed and I am not
Jun 08, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadiana, library, 9-star
Alison Pick is a new-to-me Canadian author and I'm pleased to have discovered her. Far to Go is a moving and beautifully written story. I'm not surprised to learn that the author is also a poet.

Pavel and Anneliese Bauer are secular Jews who live in a small Czechoslovakian town in the Sudetenland with their six-year-old son Pepik and his nanny, Marta. None of them can foresee how their lives will change when England and France agree to cede the Sudetenland to Germany in 1938, part of Neville Cha
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ALISON PICK'S best-selling novel FAR TO GO was nominated for the Man Booker Prize and won the Canadian Jewish Book Award. It was a Top 10 Book of 2010 at NOW magazine and the Toronto Star, and was published to international acclaim. Alison was the winner of the 2002 Bronwen Wallace Award for the most promising writer in Canada under 35. Currently on Faculty at the Humber School for Writers and the ...more
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