Karen deVries's Reviews > Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
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's review
Jan 12, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: grandma-s-recs
Read from May 08 to 10, 2010

This book hooked me enough that I read it in two sittings. Julia, a contemporary American ex-pat living in Paris takes an assignment about a Vel d'Hiver (aka Operation Spring Breeze). Vel d'Hiver references an actual historical event in 1942 when French police assisted the occupying Nazi's in rounding up 13,000+ Jews, many of whom were children, and most of whom died at Auschwitz. For the first 2/3 of the book, the reader moves back and forth between Julia's story and another character's, Sarah, a young girl who survived the roundup. I thought these 2/3 comprised the best (albeit the most difficult to stomach) part of the book. For me, the complexities of the story become flattened once Sarah's voice is lost. Perhaps that's part of the point, but I doubt it. In the last 1/3, the loose ends of the story are tied up in somewhat of an unsatisfactory manner while the lesson ("never forget") gets hammered home. I characterize de Rosnay as a good writer, but a far cry from a literary tour-de-force.

Two additions. (1) I thoroughly enjoyed Julia's observations and descriptions of Paris environs as I lived in the 8ème Arrondissement for much too short of a time. (2) The book is currently being made into a film, and Kristin Scott Thomas plays Julia. I'm looking forward to it.

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