|Rising Sun, Falling Shadow|
Our protagonists are Franz and Sunny Adler. Franz fled Austria five years prior to this book's beginning, after the Anschluß. Sunny is a Eurasian who has lived in Shanghai all her life. Together, they work at a small, badly supplied hospital that cares for the Jewish community that has grown in the city. When the Japanese require the Jews to move to a small section of the city, a ghetto (though they refuse to call it that), life only gets harder from the Adlers and their friends and neighbors.
The book moves incredibly quickly. Babies are born. People are arrested and escape. Plots are formulated and either executed or foiled. There's little time for character in all the hubbub, but Kalla does give you a strong sense of both Franz and Sunny. (The same can't really be said for any other character, unfortunately.) Summarizing it all would take almost as many pages as Kalla did to tell the story.
Rising Sun, Falling Shadow, above all else, gave me a strong sense of the chaos of World War II China and the desperation that its citizens and inhabitants must have felt. There was no time to recover from one crisis before another descended. It's a wonder that anyone could hold on to their sanity under such pressure.