Here’s what happened at Book Club…
A fantastic discussion tonight!
It wasn’t quite a consensus, but overall Far To Go by Alison Pick got two thumbs up. The story, the writing, the narrative voice were all very engaging. Although the story was not new – historical fiction about a Jewish family in 1939 – the perspective was very original. Throughout the entire book we were left to wonder who the heck was telling this story. This mystery was not revealed until the very end (ssshhhh… we won’t tell).
As with most historical fiction, there’s always something to learn. In Far To Go it was the existence of the Kindertransport. Most of us had never heard of it. It’s a very powerful part of the story that stays with the reader long after the last page has been turned. (Click the Kindertransport link for info).
As we discussed the book, things got interesting. There seemed to be a bunch of inconsistencies that on first read weren’t really obvious. But put a bunch of us in a room with food and wine and they get fleshed out pretty quickly.
The most significant issue that we really have to resolve before life as we know it can move on [SPOILER ALERT – read no further unless you’ve read the book] is: – Were there 2 baby girls? If so what was the purpose of not including the youngest child in the story. If there was ever only one … why would the author choose to alter the whole stream of the story at the end? It creates way too many fuzzy bits. – How do we now explain the events that were supposed to be a result of Anneliese”s grief? How could there be no mention of Marta caring for the older child? If Pepik was younger what about the picture?
See what we mean??
Some of the other things we wondered about – how did the letters to Pepik end up in the archives? – If Arthur’s parents went through the trouble of keeping them why would they not have sent them on to the orphanage? And the watch surrounded by diamonds – how did Lisa end up with that? It’s beyond unlikely that given the time and the circumstances it would have not been swiped along the way. And why take it from Pepik in the first place if the plan was to save it?
Something that really caught our attention was the sense of anger that came from the narrator about her own history – to paraphrase – ‘It’s my story and it’s none of your business – so don’t ask me!’ C’mon chick – now we really need to know! Dish baby.
Unlike many of our meetings this one was spent almost entirely on the book with few diversions (there were a few doozies, but I’m bound to secrecy..sorry). It really was a great book club choice – leaving us with more questions than answers and lots to think about.
Since inquiring minds REALLY need to know, we’ll try to contact author Alison Pick and see what she can tell us. Perhaps she might also share with us her connection to those she has listed in the front of the book and her journey in the telling of this wonderful story.
Thank you Liz for choosing this book and hosting such a wonderful meeting. The wine and the food was yummy – too bad you tried to hog the pumpkin pie for yourself. 🙂
Since inquiring minds need to know… Liz contacted author Alison Pick to pass along some of the questions we had after reading Far to Go. Alison was glad we liked her book and thanked us for reading it. She very graciously provided links to a couple of interviews and articles which provide some of the answers.