Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay

Book 16

An American journalist in Paris is assigned a story – the anniversary of the mass arrest and deportation of Jews in Paris, 1942.  She finds a personal connection, through her French in-laws, to one of the families and tries to find out what happened to them.

This type of novel, this genre, ought to have a name: where some modern day person stumbles upon a mystery and pursues it to the extreme.  Sometimes there are eerie personal parallels and sometimes there is a personal epiphany.  But always, always that modern day person begins the journey at least half broken.   And totally annoying.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a necessary part of of the formula.  As in:

Julie and Julia, Possession, The Historian, The Labyrinth, The Thirteenth Tale

Sarah’s Key has a whole lot to say.  While I was not familiar with this particular episode in the Holocaust, I have read  a bit about  the French experience.  The convergence of survival, complicity, guilt, embarrassment and burying (or re-writing) history were really well illustrated in the Tezac family.  The portrayal of secrets kept was intense.  The story of the little girl in 1942 was compelling.  For all of these reasons, I can give this book a thumbs up.

I just wish I could have liked the narrator.




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