The Pay Off

I finally finished The Far Cry by Emma Smith even though I was tempted to give up on it at first, but I kept at it in part because it was one of my From The Stacks challenge books. I didn’t want to put it back on the stacks.

Another reason I was so adamant about reading it was because I had bought it at the Persephone Bookshop when I went to England to visit my best friend, Christine, several years ago. We had such a great time at Persephone Books and I guess in some way I had been saving the books I bought thinking that when I read them they’d take me back to another time, somehow capturing the magic of a fun vacation. Certainly the book wouldn’t be a disappointment right? Talk about piling up a lot of expectations on a book!

The Far Cry is the story of 12-year-old Teresa who is being whisked off to India by her father. Mr. Digby hopes to keep Teresa away from her mother by finding refuge with his oldest daughter who lives on a tea farm in India. Teresa doesn’t want to go, Ruth doesn’t want her father and sister there, and all too soon the cracks in everyone’s relationships start to widen and pull each one into separate directions.

My problem at first was that I didn’t care for any of the characters, but slowly Teresa started to win me over. Unlike the other characters, Teresa doesn’t complain about the new country. Instead she is awed by it. It’s quite a treat to see her discovering a country filled with possibilities rather than to focus on the negatives.

The pipes followed, playing madly. India, thought Teresa, this is India! This upside-down inside-out lunatic night is India! Anything may happen, at any moment. I want it, I’m ready: let anything happen.

Wow, can’t you just feel the excitement? As Teresa starts to revel in the experiences of being in another country I couldn’t help but feel a connection to her. I guess her awakening to a new life resonated so much with me because I love to travel and have sometimes found myself in a new city thinking I belong here.

In the end the book totally won me over. Thank you Persephone Books for bringing back forgotten classics.

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