Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

I love fiction stories that teach you something. It's like receiving the educational benefits of a non-fiction book while enjoying the pull and intrigue of something created by the musings of the author's mind. This is one of those books. Sarah's Key was a great read. It takes place during WWII, a setting I am often drawn to. It's an emotionally-gripping mystery that centers in on the involvement of the French in the Jewish round-up in July 1942, where thousands were held hostage in the Velodrome d'Hiver, before being shipped off to concentration camps. It's a new look at the Holocaust - a fresh, yet dark piece of history that I didn't know much about until reading this book.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down. (July)

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1 comment:

  1. I was lucky enough to get this book as an ARC from Amazon and I LOVED it. Not in the "I want to read this every night" way but in the "wow that was good but sad" way. Good choice!