Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay


Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

Sometimes I think the summaries give too much information. But I suppose you also can't simply judge a book by its cover. This book has been made into a movie (poster above) for French cinema and is being converted to English this year.

My review: 4 Looks
The parallel stories of a family caught up in the 1942 roundup of French Jews and a present-day journalist who finds her life intertwines with that of one of the victims. The story goes back and forth between the two stories until they eventually converge at the apartment where it first began. Written with honesty and sensitivity, I think this will make a great movie.

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