Earth and High Heaven
When Erika Drake, of the Westmount Drakes, met and fell in love with Marc Reiser, a Jew from northern Ontario, their respective worlds were turned upside down. Set against the backdrop of the first three years of the Second World War, Earth and High Heaven captured the hearts and minds of its generation and helped to shape the more diverse and inclusive culture we have today.
Published in 1944, this classic novel was very timely; it spoke of the prejudices of its time, when Gentiles and Jews did not mix in society. Earth and High Heaven was the most successful novel of its time, winning many awards and prizes, including the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1945 (an award founded to reward books that exposed racism or explored the richness of human diversity). It was translated into eighteen languages and the film rights were purchased by Samuel Goldwyn for a remarkable $100,000. Earth and High Heaven was the first Canadian novel to top the New York Times bestseller list for the better part of a year.