Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sarah's Key

Sarah's key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Historical Fiction
In 1942 in Paris a ten year old girl, Sarah is rounded up with her parents by the French police and taken to Vel’ d’Hiv’. Before she leaves she locks her little brother in a cupboard thinking she will be back soon to release him.

In a parallel story Julia Jarmond is asked to write a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup for the 60th anniversary. She is determined to follow Sarah's footsteps.

Switching between the two stories the book tells us of Sarah's trials and ordeals and the horror of being a Jew in occupied France. Julia meanwhile, feels Sarah's anguish as she pursues her story and finds out how closely intertwined it is with her in-laws' story. Julia starts to question her own marriage and life. I did not really empathize with Julia and found while Zoe her daughter seemed to be so mature it was almost unreal.

I did not know about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup but I did know about how the French do not want to discuss any of their 'ugly' part in WWII. Interestingly, I recently picked up A Thread of Grace By Mary Doria Russell which is about Jews in occupied Italy and how they were hidden. Two authors, similiar subjects and completely different treatments. As much as the French were shown to be brutal the Italians are shown to have some sympathy.


I would never have continued living in an apartment where the body of a little boy had been found. I may not have had the courage to stand up to the brutality and even might have overlooked how I got the apartment but to continue to live there. UGH!!!
One never knows until one is in that situation how one will react. I could always hope I would stand up and be counted.

First Line: "The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door."

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